Autumn is in full swing, and those of us reluctant to accept the departing summer during September can no longer ignore the increasingly crisp mornings and the golden tones of nature all around: leaves fall from the trees, backlit by the dappled sunlight of late afternoons.
I find this time of year both scary and exciting. Saying goodbye to one season, especially the summer, is never easy but welcoming another with all it evokes is the perfect opportunity for a fresh start. The tricky transition is behind us and now is the time to turn our attention indoors, reluctantly packing away the beach bag, hoovering up the sand and hanging up our flip-flops. Let the nesting begin.
The great outdoors is never far away; those autumnal walks, apple harvesting and invigorating visits to storm-swept beaches all provide perfect opportunities to gather dried foliage and other treasures to decorate our homes. Added to your existing collections, you can create little shrines of memories from past adventures in nature as you while away the colder months getting reacquainted with your burrows.
Dried flowers are a fantastic way to style your home, not only creating great impact but lasting for years; even when purchased rather than foraged, they provide good value for money. There are numerous varieties to choose from these days; we have come a long way from the displays of the 1970s! I encourage you to err on the wild side, source the unusual from your garden or when out walking and grab whatever catches your eye. There are no rules - don’t let trends dictate your choice; it’s your house. Admittedly some things will dry better than others, either retaining colour or taking on a more neutral shade, so it really comes down to personal taste. In October you can pick flowers, grasses and seed pods straight off the plant, already dried. Certain varieties require different drying techniques and I have learnt over the years through trial and error - Google is fantastic for researching a specific specimen!
When it comes to styling, be bold. Don’t limit your displays to eye level and flat surfaces. As these flowers require no watering they are perfect for draping over the tops of mirrors and picture frames to draw the eye up, or down if you stand them in a vessel on the floor. Have fun experimenting with scale, creating visual contrast by pairing opposites. Place rough with smooth, light with dark, small against big, horizontal to vertical - the list goes on. Play around, trusting your instincts until it feels just right, decorating nooks and crannies to await discovery by curious eyes.
When evening comes, pay homage to past seasons while embracing the new. With our visual memories displayed around us, we can enjoy autumnal aromas such as woodsmoke mixed with baked apple and cinnamon drifting from the oven: the scent, sights and tastes of past and present.
Published in the October 2019 edition of Bridport Times magazine: bridporttimes.co.uk