Wednesday, October 5, 2016

A Thanksgiving Basket



A few years ago, we began what has become a tradition of eating our Thanksgiving meal outdoors in the late afternoon. The break in our usual dinner routine adds to the holiday feel and I love having meals in the garden. Yes, it can be a bit chilly here in Southern Ontario in October, but we put on warm coats and we light a fire. Hot, homemade food to tastes even better on a cool fall day!


This year I thought I would add to the festivities with a few decorative touches. Two things spurred me on. One: Last weekend I came across a wire basket that I forgot I even had. Two: I had a small container planting of mixed herbs that had served me well all summer, but had become pot bound and needed attention. 

Eventually I plan to harvest and dry a few of the herbs from the overgrown container. Others I will plant out in the garden. But for the short run, I thought I'd mix a few herbs with a some ornamental cabbages to make an arrangement for our Thanksgiving table.

Coconut liner (on the left) and sheet moss (on the right)

If you want to make your own arrangement, you may not have a wire basket with a readymade burlap liner like mine, but any wire basket could be made to suit. To line your wire basket, you could always use a square of burlap cut to fit. Alternatively you could line the basket with sheet moss (from a craft store) or use a coconut liner (from a nursery or garden centre).


The burlap interior of my wire basket was pretty porous, so before I filled it with potting soil I added a big square of landscape cloth (from the garden centre). On the very bottom of the basket, I placed a second rectangle of cloth just to make sure the bottom of my arrangement was going to stay dry. If you are really concerned that the bottom of the basket might get wet, you could always use some black plastic to line the interior instead of cloth (I'd cut up a heavy duty garbage bag if I was using this option).

I placed the black landscape cloth inside, trimmed it to fit, and then added some potting soil. In hindsight, I wished I had added the soil first and then did my trimming. The way I did it, the black liner ended up being just a bit short. I'll know better next time.


Just a quick side note on this great little tool. If you pot up lots of containers, a scoop like this makes the job so much easier! I picked my potting scoop at a local garden centre, but I notice that similar scoops are readily available online. 



Before I started, I watered everything and set the plants aside for a few minutes to drain.

As well as the herbs I had from the overgrown container, I bought a few ornamental cabbages, a bag of white pumpkins and two pots of sage from the local Farmer's Market. One was a golden sage (above on the left) and the other was tri-color sage (above on the right).


To hold the white pumpkin in place I attached a flower pic from the craft store. To do this I placed a generous dab of glue on the bottom centre of my white pumpkin and inserted flower pic into the hot glue. Then it was just a matter of holding the pic in place for a few seconds until the glue set.


Here's a full breakdown of what I used: 

1. One ornamental cabbage with a white centre 2. Tri-color Sage 3. Three grey ornamental cabbages with purple accents 4. Thyme 5. Oregano 6. Golden Sage 7. Variegated Lemon Thyme

A view of the far side of the basket.

Because I plan to use this as a table centre piece, I worked from both sides to put the basket together. No matter where your guests are sitting at the table, you want the basket to look good!


I don't know about you but, whenever I pot up something, I always get potting soil where I don't want it! To clean up my mess, I use a dollar store spray bottle filled with water and a piece of paper towel.


As a final touch, I added a little metal banner that is topped with a tiny bird. 


Here's the completed project. A similar basket or pot might even make a nice hostess gift.

Again, this isn't meant to be a longterm container planting. After the long weekend, I'll plant most of the herbs into the garden.

Sage

When I was finished the basket I still had some sage, rosemary, thyme and a couple of ornamental cabbages leftover, so I decided to use then to give one of the containers on the front porch a fall update.



Here's a full breakdown of what I used: 

1. Sage 2. Rosemary 3. Thyme 4. Oregano 5. Ivy 6. Variegated Lemon Thyme 7. Ornamental Cabbage

With the exception of the cabbages and the ivy, everything is a herb. Most herbs are pretty cold tolerant, so they work well in fall container plantings. (The ceramic pot is tall, so I thought the long trailing stems of the ivy would be a nice "spiller". There are also a few Dogwood branches at the back of the pot.)


The final touch was a little rusty birdhouse I picked up at a craft show for $5.


This little winged piggy greets all our visitors. In the fall, I put pumpkins or acorns in his outstretched arms. At Christmas time, it's usually pinecones.


If you're celebrating Thanksgiving this coming weekend, I hope you and your family 
have a lovely holiday!

17 comments:

  1. Your basket is going to be a lovely centerpiece for your holiday meal. It is beautiful and the white pumpkins are accent for the green and purple foliage. I hope you have a happy Thanksgiving!

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  2. The herb basket is a wonderful tabledecoration with Thanksgiving. I wish you and your family a happy holiday.

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  3. Oh my goodness, Karen, you are truly so creative, and this is just beautiful! I also love the idea of having your Thanksgiving dinner outside. When our Thanksgiving arrives in November, there is usually snow on the ground here. :-(

    Thank you so much for sharing this here, and I wish you and your beautiful family a most wonderful Thanksgiving. xo.

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    1. Thanks Lisa. The forecast says sun, so we're in luck. I am really looking forward to our simple outdoor meal.

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  4. Love these Jennifer, so gorgeous! Pinning!

    Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Thanks for sharing Anne! Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

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  5. Oh, Jennifer you're so creative gardener, I love very much your projects, especially the first one and a small piggy with pumpkins. Happy Thanksgiving!

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    1. Thanks Nadeda! I love that little piggy too!

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  6. Happy Thanksgiving! Your containers are such an inspiration, seasonal and fun. I think I need to refresh my pots with some herbs and pumpkins!

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    1. Over the last few years I have been using more and more herbs in my containers. One thing I forgot to mention was how fragrant the basket was with the thyme I included.

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  7. Eating outside sounds like a lovely idea. I might set up a table in the veggie garden. I like the scoop, I'm very messy in the potting shed and I think a scoop would help. Happy Thanksgiving.

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    1. I really find the scoop is so handy. You can fill a pot neatly and quickly when you are able to grab a large amount of soil in a single scoop.

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  8. What a lovely basket, and great that it can be planted out afterwards. How lovely being able to eat out doors around a fire! I just love your welcome piggy! Happy Thanksgiving.xxx

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  9. Jennifer, I love the basket, what a gorgeous centerpiece. Thanksgiving here is in November, usually cold and gloomy, what a treat it would be to be able to dine outdoors. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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  10. Happy thanksgiving! Lovely to see your basket, and your wonderful crop of vegetables and herbs.

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