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.
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
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!