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Nature’s Harvest Table 5 Ways

Nature’s Harvest Table 5 Ways

One of the most beloved holiday traditions in my family is foraging together for beautiful elements from nature to decorate our table. Bringing the season indoors just feeds our souls, and there is nothing more beautiful to us at this time of year than natural offerings of gourds or garnet-colored native corn or tendrils of curly willow or grapevine.

We believe in using whatever is at hand–to save money, to allow serendipity to happen, and just for fun–to tweak our creativity. Here are a few of our latest ideas that you can use as a jumping-off place for your own creative spirit:

1. On one of my morning walks, I found a pile of cuttings from some wonderfully twiggy plant, tied with rough twine, that a neighbor had thrown away. We brought the twigs in, plunked them in a big terra cotta urn that had held chrysanthemums throughout the early autumn, and placed tiny pumpkins and autumn leaves among the branches. A friend had recently given me some battery-operated tea-lights that I wrapped in oak-leaf-colored tissue and scattered here and there in the arrangement: they made the most enchanting flickering light. And, unlike real candles, these were safe! A few more leaves and small pumpkins scattered at the foot of the urn and we had a super-dramatic and beautiful centerpiece.

2. We love the colors and textures of wood. One year we collected all the wooden salad bowls, antique boxes, and dough troughs that are scattered all over the house and piled them with nuts in the shell, apples, gourds, and miniature ears of native corn. We arranged them down the center of the table, interspersed with beeswax candles.

3. It’s fun to collect grapevine and twist it into a big wreath for the center of the table. Inside it, we heap pumpkins and gourds and beeswax tapers.

4. One year we went for a Zen-like simplicity: We simply gathered a few long branches with brightly-colored leaves still attached and placed them in a rustic earthenware pitcher.

5. A pretty pumpkin, hollowed out, makes a great vase for autumn arrangements. We recently used the tassels from our by-the-door corn shocks, interspersed with chrysanthemums, curly willow, and assorted interesting-looking seedpods found by the roadside.

Other simple ideas: We placed a small heap of autumn leaves down the center of the table, then evenly placed several perfect pears in a line on top. You could also use apples or pomegranates or miniature pumpkins.

For more ideas, see Thanksgiving Decorating with Nature.

Read more: Crafts & Design, Crafts & Hobbies, Green Home Decor, , ,

By Cait Johnson, co-author of Celebrating the Great Mother (Inner Traditions, 1995).

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Cait Johnson

Cait Johnson, MFA, is the author of six books, including Earth, Water, Fire, and Air: Essential Ways of Connecting to Spirit, Witch in the Kitchen, Celebrating the Great Mother and Tarot Games. She has been a counselor for more than 20 years, and teaches workshops on seasonal elemental approaches to self-healing, conscious eating, and soul-nurturing creativity.

Go to the Source

Celebrating the Great Mother

A handbook of earth-honoring activities for parents and now


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12:54PM PDT on Sep 2, 2010


9:09AM PDT on Aug 14, 2010

Great ideas. Thank you for sharing them.

9:54AM PDT on Apr 27, 2010


3:28PM PDT on Mar 25, 2010

When my best friend was still alive, she put a simple black ceramic vase on the middle of the table. Inside the vase, she placed some gnarly twigs that she had dyed a glorious wine color. This was so striking, not just for the colors, but also for its simplicity. I don't know what she used for dye. I never thought to ask her. I wish I had.

7:59AM PST on Jan 29, 2010

It's great to have a big variety. thanks.

4:13AM PST on Dec 16, 2009

Lovely ideas!

1:35PM PST on Dec 8, 2009

second idea is great, sounds beautiful the wood and candles

12:38AM PST on Dec 4, 2009

Great ideas! Thanks!

10:59AM PST on Dec 2, 2009

thanks for the post

10:56AM PST on Dec 2, 2009

thanks for the post

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

people are talking

Some good ideas. Thank you for posting.

Keep up the great work. Thank you for caring and sharing.

still don't want to sit on a public toilet.

Well, Mish, I'm not sure I agree with this idea. Sounds like bollocks to me. Not like you at all, I …


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