Welcome Autumn

The autumn equinox today marked the end of summer and the beginning of fall. Although the equinox signals shorter, and cooler, days ahead, the temps this afternoon soared into the high 80s. In spite of the lingering heat, I decided to start the fall decorating.

As a kid, I ranked fall as number three in order of preference for the seasons. Summer, with its long days of freedom, was my favorite time of year, followed by spring and then fall and winter. Now spring and fall tie for my favorite seasons. The reappearance of my flowers, plants and herbs in the gardens give spring a slight edge in my heart. But oh, I do love this time of year.

Changing my house over to a new season begins with my front porch. The welcoming change begins here and then moves throughout the house. This is a good time to clean and declutter and throw away, in preparation for the upcoming holiday season.

I also love using an abundance of candles. I always intend to keep lighting candles, after the Christmas decorations are packed away. However, realistically, as the temperatures climb I feel less and less inclined to light candles and create additional heat. The arrival of longer nights naturally inspires me to dispel the darkness with light, hence more candles.

I usually add real pumpkins, gourds and potted mums to my fall decor. This year, I decided to do something different. Rather than purchase anything to accentuate what I have, I chose to create using only what I already own.

So instead of grouping real pumpkins beneath the table on the porch, I added a vintage gas can, a metal bucket and a weathered hurricane lantern. I like the way this fresh grouping looks.

The biggest challenge, in playing this game of using what I had on hand, was redoing my vintage red box. I call this cherished piece Annie’s Box, as I brought it home after my Aunt Annie passed away a couple of years ago. I freshen the box with the seasons, adding terra cotta pots of pansies in the spring and colorful begonias or coleus in the summer. For fall I normally replace the summer flowers with tiny mums or yellow pansies.

I nearly wavered and headed to the Garden Center. But then I had a nudge of inspiration. Near my raised vegetable bed, ground cover has appeared, sporting stalks of tiny purple flowers. I don’t know where the plants came from. Perhaps the seeds were carried in with the dirt used to fill the raised bed.

This afternoon I carefully dug up some of those volunteer plants and potted them, adding them to Annie’s red box. They look wild and beautiful, in the box, with a few pinecones tucked among the clay pots and a garland of rusty stars wound around the handle.

Near Annie’s Box I grouped a vintage copper teapot, a cinnamon scented candle, a sprig of red and yellow berries, and left over from summer, a dark red coleus in a copper pot. I am very pleased with the transformation of the box, and I didn’t spend a penny on any of it. I enjoyed revving up my creativity instead.

As twilight deepened, I lit candles on my newly decorated front porch. The flickering flames not only add warmth and charm to the porch, they welcome in this new season and and send light outward, literally and figuratively, into the world.

Welcome autumn.

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