Turning trimmings into treasures. That’s what Brush Creek Boutique’s staff, including Linda Gullikson, her daughter Katie Hanson, and friend and assistant Wendy Nickel, have been doing all autumn and winter long with their plethora of community education classes found in the Blue?Earth Area Schools Fall Edition of the Community Ed booklet.
On Sept. 11, and Sept 19, the Bricelyn-based floral garden center hosted a fall porch container class, while on Oct. 2 and 3, they hosted a harvest festival plantscape class.
Both decorative classes were of minimal cost to participants of all ages and helped everyone see the creativity that can be found in using what anyone can find around their garden and neighborhood.
At the Brush Creek Boutique’s harvest festival plantscape class, guests were invited to bring their own container, or use any number of containers on site for the base of their autumnal project.
Old tin washtubs, old wooden crates and boxes, even unused cardboard boxes wrapped in festive burlap are just a few ideas for any base for an outdoor decoration.
Guests even brought their own autumnal inspirational pieces, including fall ribbon, lights, and other decorative items.
“Use whatever you want,” says Nickel. “The point to this is to really make this plantscape your own.”
To create depth in your own festive outdoor decor, use old plastic planters tipped upside down to easily display pumpkins, gourds, or other fall decoration. This will give your porch basket a bit more height and depth, according to decorative experts Hanson and Gullikson.
Once the students at Brush Creek Boutique picked out their bases and began picking items for the inside of their plantscapes, fall flora were added. Flowers such as golden rod, ornamental kale, cock’s comb, chrysanthemums, celosia, and purple fountain grasses, black-eyed susans, aster, and sedum were used.
To create sturdiness for your gourds and pumpkins, one guest suggested using an ice pick to create a small hole into the pumpkin or gourd, then skewering them with a simple bamboo skewer.
“You can use different angles and create a bit more stability in the display if you poke your pumpkins,” chuckled the knowledgeable guest. “An ice pick really helps get that skewer into the pumpkin.”
Accent your autumn plantscape with dried plants, twigs, and other natural fillers such as dried sedum, hydrangeas, tansy, larkspur, lotus pods, chinese lantern plants, anise star pods, even common milkweed pods. Dried prairie grasses, stalks, colorful leaves and even birch twigs can add an autumnal feel to your decoration.
“The dead plants of summer can be your accents for fall,” said one guest. “I get creative. I walk around my neighborhood and see if I find anything that I think would look cute, I ask my neighbor if I can steal a twig or two, or perhaps some hydrangea or something, and I make it my own. It’s fun!”
Hay, dried corn cobs, broom corn, switchgrass, feather reed grass, and other accents are also great for filling gaps between your blooming fall flowers and your accented gourds and small pumpkins.
Even acorns, walnuts, and other fall seeds can be used for accents, just know they may be taken by a hungry squirrel preparing for winter.
To add an extra layer of fun, decorate your plantscape with ribbon, festive tea lights, and other artificial accoutrement.
“You can totally use fake leaves or any other artificial things to keep that color and shape all season long,” says Gullikson. “I even had someone spray paint their leaves with different colors, even a glitter finish to really make things pop.”
At the Brush Creek Boutique, Hanson had created a very fun and easy interseasonal decoration using just a few simple things: she took an old board and screwed a small piece of tin shed (approximately five inches by seven inches) onto the board, creating a type of pocket.
“Then you can use anything like prairie grasses, wild flowers, pine branches, holly branches, anything to place into it, and when the season changes, you can change your decoration, too,” says Hanson.
Using old fencing, as well as a small 2-foot by 2 inch piece of lumber and more cut tin, a larger-type pocket can be created to allow room for even more festive grasses and branches for a simple, yet elegant porch decoration.
Around 20 people attended the activity hosted by Brush Creek Boutique on Oct. 2, and if you feel like you may have missed out, there’s still time.
In the month of November, Brush Creek Boutique will be hosting a wintry hand-crafted birch basket craft night on Nov. 27 and 28 from 6-7:30 p.m. For questions and inquiries, call (507) 653-4483.
But that’s not all for this fall and winter season according to the Blue Earth Area community ed schedule. There is also an Autumn DIY?wooden sign event on Thursday, Nov. 1, at the Rustic Board in downtown Blue Earth from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Registration for this event is due by Oct. 25.
The Rustic Board is also hosting a winter DIY sign activity on Dec. 5 from 6:30-8:30 p.m., with registration due by Nov. 28.
And, if you want to know how to whittle away the wintry hours, check out wood carving 101 with Blue Earth’s own Bruce Ankeny. This class is offered on Nov. 13 and 20, with registration due by Nov. 1.