outside in: fall foliage & flowers


Look out your window right now. With any luck, you can see leaves. With a smidge more luck, they are changing color. While October riots here on the East Coast, nothing begs to be worshiped like fall foliage. Walking anywhere takes twice as long, as you’re constantly bending over to stash the prettiest of the pretty in your pocket. Instead of hoarding singles, let’s be proactive and clip a little on the branch to mix in with other seasonal flowers, fruits and seedpods for a fall foliage display that will make you want to ignore all social engagements. Push the limit of the standard “harvest” color palette, and you’ll want to look lovingly into the eyes of your flowers all the cold night long. — Amy Merrick

The full post and arrangement how-to continue after the jump . . .

Starting with a few gathered, rusty brown oak leaves in a $10 vintage gold lusterware pitcher, make a base with their stems to hold your larger flowers.

Pomegranates are just coming into season, and a few on the branch add a painterly twist to an arrangement. If you’re unable to find any on the branch, piercing a few from Stop and Shop with shish kabob skewers will do the trick. A couple dahlia stems (grown by Frances Palmer, master of all things good and green on this earth), Persian carpet zinnias and Chinese lanterns round out an arrangement that consists of only a few elements and can be put together in no time. Shazam! As easy as pomegranate pie.

Another, more classically spooky fall arrangement starts with a small block of soaked oasis floral foam and several orangey-gold maple leaves. A thrift store footed compote makes a dressy centerpiece, but don’t forget to water it every day — dried out foam is death to flowers.

Persian carpet zinnias are a serious no-brainer when it comes to fall inspiration. Their colors are perfect, and they have the best name around. Dahlias are fall’s showstoppers, so why mess around with South American-grown roses when we only have these bad boys until first frost?

The more variegated your foliage, the better. Except in this case, the more tonal colors you can pack into a single leaf or flower, the happier you’ll be. Now unburn those Grateful Dead roses from your retinas by grabbing a thermos of hot toddy and some clippers, and get outside already.

  1. Being a resident of Florida for three years now, I miss the Autumn days in the Northeast. These pictures really bring that feeling back for me. Thank you!

  2. Molly says:

    Wow! Beautiful arrangement. Perfect for autumn. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks!

  3. Jessica says:

    Gorgeous! I love autumn. Thanks for sharing the inspiration. We had spectacular fall colors until ten inches of snow suddenly broke all of the trees. It sure was pretty to see the fiery red branches covered with snow, though.

  4. Trina says:

    All the reasons I love fall, right here.

  5. Rachel says:

    These are amazing. I love these tips and will be doing this as soon as possible.

  6. Heather says:

    Wow! Love these shots! They are so amazing, even framable! Thanks for sharing some great ideas to capture this favorite time of year! :)

  7. holy moly, beautiful flowers and photography. autumn is my favorite time of year to design in :)

  8. mindy says:

    Beautiful colors, and I love those Persian Carpet zinnias. I would just about KILL for zinnias like these, but I don’t think they’ll grow in Austin (much like dahlias!) If you have any recommendations for dahlias or more exotic zinnias that like warmer/drier weather, bring them on!

  9. mindy says:

    Oh, boy: I read your post too fast, and briefly mistook the dahlias for some kind of awesome zinnia. Those I’m quite sure will not grow here, but I’ll look for them at florists!

  10. Micha Merrick says:

    breathtaking! are these shots taken at The Mill?

  11. Beautiful Pictures!! Love all the colors that come together!

  12. amym says:

    Yup, Micha! At the mill.

  13. These are the colors I like.. in the season I love most!
    Ciao dall’Italia!

  14. Those arrangements are stunning, and so much more edited (in the best way) than so many chock-full-to-the-brim arrangements I’ve seen so many of this time of the year. I’m especially taken with the addition of the pink. It’s such a sophisticated counterpoint to the traditional jewel tones! LOVE!!

  15. Carol says:

    Thanks for a wonderful project idea! I am definitely going to make myself an arrangement this weekend now.

  16. Beautiful natural autumn floral arrangements! Nothing beats getting outside and gathering what natures has blessed you with. I do this all the time for every season, I have to agree Fall is one of the best seasons to gather natures beauty & bring it indoors! Thanks for sharing these beautiful arrangements and the inspiration.

  17. Sarahee says:

    I’ve been following this blog for years. Your Blog is amazing, thanks for continuing to inspire me!! When people ask me for a good design blog, yours is the first to come to mind. Thanks Again!

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      thanks sarahee :)


  18. annie says:

    I’m definitely going to plant some of those magical orange lanterns next year for sure!

  19. I was totally inspired and had to try it myself: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28589674@N06/6310005796/. Of course, there are no zinnias or dahlias to be found here in Southwestern Ontario, but the japanese maple in the front of my house came in handy!

  20. jaime says:

    When I saw the first photo pop up on my Google Reader, my first thought was, “That has to be done by Amy Merrick.” You have such a unique eye! The colours here are fabulous.

  21. That is just beautifull! Great job! You may also visit:http://www.keengardeners.co.uk

  22. Jocee says:

    Pretty is an understatement. it’s whimsical, beautiful, magical, combined. i don’t think anything can do this justice. just so…wow. :))
    -jocee <3


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