Fall colors and nature’s bounty create the perfect natural Thanksgiving décor. Fall colors of brown, red, gold, yellow, and orange are found in leaf color as well as the fading landscape. Late summer and fall are the best times to collect seed heads, seed pods, ornamental grass plumes, pinecones, acorns, berry-laden stems, colored leaves (individual and branches), as well as stems of fall blooming perennials. Bring them inside and let the decorating begin!
Don’t stop there. A little planning in spring can increase your “fall décor harvest.” Buy seed packets to grow gourds, mini pumpkins, Chinese lanterns, and herbs. If you don’t have berry-producing shrubs, consider adding those wildlife friendly plants to the yard.
Thanksgiving Garden Decorations
Order seeds from seed catalogs in the spring and plant according to package directions in time for a fall harvest. For example, if decorative gourds or mini pumpkins take three months to mature, plant seeds in late July (January in Southern Hemisphere).
You may already know someone who grows Chinese lanterns, which are a popular pass-a-long plant. The seed pods look like 2-inch (5 cm.) orange lanterns. Bring them inside as soon as they turn orange to keep the color. If you leave them on the stem till fall, they will turn brown.
Great herbs to grow for fall decoration are the fragrant lavender and rosemary. Other good thanksgiving décor to grow includes:
- Ornamental grasses – For interesting plumes in fall arrangements include miscanthus, ruby grass, dwarf fountain grass, and little bluestem.
- Pumpkins – White and orange if you have an extra-large garden area.
- Fall blooming perennials – Things like goldenrod, chrysanthemum, and aster.
- Attractive seed heads – Think coneflower, queen of the prairie, and goldenrod.
- Seed pods – Like those from blackberry lily, milkweed, and lunaria.
- Vegetables – Any you’re still harvesting look great in a cornucopia or basket.
- Houseplants – Those such as croton and Rex begonia make colorful additions to Thanksgiving décor.
- Berry producing plants – Can include holly, viburnum, aronia, beautyberry, and juniper.
Items you may not have room to grow such as pumpkins, gourds, and mums will be available at farmer’s markets and grocery stores in fall. Scour parks for colored leaves, pinecones, and acorns if you don’t have any.
Decorate with Natural Elements for Fall
Check out Pinterest or scour the internet for these design ideas and more.
- Wreaths: Purchase (or make) a grapevine wreath and add decorative items collected from the yard– seed heads and pods, pinecones, Chinese lanterns, berry sprigs, mini pumpkins, or gourds. If you grow citrus, make a wreath using oranges, kumquats, lemons, clementine, and limes. Attach them to a circular form such as green Styrofoam or grapevine wreath with wood floral picks. Cover unused spaces with fall leaves. Make a pinecone wreath by attaching pinecones with florist’s wire to a wire wreath form or grapevine wreath. Pinecones may be decorated by brushing tips with acrylic paints in fall hues if desired.
- Candleholders: Cut out the center of gourds or mini pumpkins to use as candle holders. Use them on the fireplace mantel or with tablescapes.
- Tablescapes: Decorate the center of the Thanksgiving table with pillar candles of different heights, gourds, mini pumpkins, grape clusters, grass plumes, and seed pods on a fall colored table runner or long tray.
- Centerpieces: Cut out the top of a pumpkin and clean inside. Fill with fresh or dried flowers from the yard. If fresh, set flowers in a vase with water inside the pumpkin. Fill vase with water and freshly cut fall flowers from the garden. Surround vase with group of mini pumpkins and/or gourds. Make a centerpiece using a colorful croton or Rex begonia houseplant in a fall container. Add taper candles in gourd candleholders on each side. Also looks good on a fireplace mantel or buffet. Fill three to five matching quaint vases with garden mums. Fill clear vases with branches of colorful fall foliage. Surround with mini pumpkins and gourds or use berry-laden branches. Combine rosemary and lavender stems (fresh or dried) in a decorative container.
- Cornucopia: Also called Horn of Plenty, fill with gourds, pinecones, Chinese lanterns, mini pumpkins, and seed pods. Use feathery ornamental grass plumes for filler.
- Candle wreath: Make this using a small grapevine wreath and attach pinecones, gourds, fall foliage, acorns, etc. with hot glue gun.
- Pumpkins: Mini pumpkins can be painted in whimsical designs or colors to go with another décor idea. Write a Thanksgiving message such as “Give Thanks” using gold paint pen on side of pumpkin. Attach large floral stems to top.
Use your imagination to come up with even more Thanksgiving garden decorations. You can also download our eBook “Bring Your Garden Indoors: 13 DIY Projects for the Fall and Winter” by clicking here.