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by Jolene Hanig-Jones
How do you like my red painted dairy milk jug vignette? This was a lot of fun. I had the milk jug for several years and had used it in decorating without much embellishment. It had become rusty over the years and this summer I decided to spray paint it red. First, I did use naval jelly to remove as much rust as possible. I used Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover Paint + Primer in Colonial Red-Gloss. It covers very well, so you don’t have to be meticulous with the naval jelly. Once painted, I knew I would be putting a potted plant in it. Since my milk jug never had a lid, I repurposed a plastic pot that fit perfectly in the top of the milk jug. I spray painted the plastic pot red to further disguise it. When it came time to decorate it, I began with a potted, red, tall grass. I added a few autumn leaf sprays and some sunflowers. I had intended to add a bow, but I was so pleased with the shiny red paint finish, that I decided to leave it as is. (Sneak preview: I will be reusing this as part of our winter holiday decorations.)
I really like galvanized metal containers. On a recent road trip, I saw one displayed with a large mum in it. It looked so charming in its simplicity. I decided to copy it for our front garden. I had the large galvanized container. All I did was add the large mum. We found the acorn sculptures several years ago at the Shaker Woods Festival. I have these in our garden year round. They get moved around, but they are always out. The simplicity of this arrangement pleases me.
The anchor of this display is a large pumpkin made by a local craftsman from recycled barn wood. Each pumpkin was painted in a different manner. I love the shading he did on this one. It could probably be recreated using an old pallet. In front of the wooden pumpkin, I added a wooden bushel basket filled with a variety of plants: red grasses, decorative cabbage plant, mum, and some cattails. There is even a white pumpkin or two tucked into the arrangement. I added the orange and white pumpkin to complete the vignette.
The lamppost got an Indian corn and wheat arrangement makeover. The droopy wheat is the result of a strong wind and rain. I hung an acorn nut birdhouse on the post as a link to the other acorn sculptures. Repetition of materials can add continuity to the décor.
Here we have one of the “deck-orations”. I’ve begun scouring flea markets and resale shops for blue speckled granite wear roasters, coffee pots, canners, and more. So far, I have three pieces, and I plan to use them for potting plants next spring. I paid $2.00 for this roaster and had it planted with herbs this summer. For fall, I used autumn leaf picks, plastic gourds, an old small grapevine wreath, and a red candle jar. I cut dried pods from Black-eyed Susan plants to add height to the arrangement. All that was left was to add the birdhouses and pumpkins. (Note to self: Change out lime green pots to red for autumn décor.)
I am always sad when the plantings of summer are spent. I wasn’t about to move this large planter, so I decided to dress it up with the help of Mother Nature. I already had the branches and the garden sign in the planter. I added the rustic birdhouse and looked around for some “filler”. Woods surround us and the oak trees have been dropping their leaves in clusters. I gathered up a bunch of them and inserted them into the planter. I cut a few Black-Eyed Susan dried pods and stuck them in for added interest. Lastly, I added a few plastic gourds. This vignette has the most natural elements of any I’ve done and I found them in my yard! This may be my favorite arrangement.
Lastly, it’s only fitting, that Mother Nature is given the credit with all her marvelous fall colors. All I did was hang a birdhouse on a hanger and let Mother Nature be the backdrop. She is amazing!
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