All around us on the East End, autumn brings a beautiful flurry of nature and a welcoming change. The sunflower fields start to pop, the hay is rolled, the grapes are ready to crush and with the quieter season following Labor Day, there comes a tranquility followed by some of the most beautiful weeks of the year. Sometimes in the bustling summer months, running from one activity to another, I often forget to stop and smell the roses. With the whirlwind of a fleeting summer, I take the beauty of summer for granted. Once fall begins, the traffic slows down, and the quieter season takes hold, I’m more appreciative of the wonders of the outdoors. During this time, I long to bring that feeling inside my home for our weekend gatherings with family and friends.
I often visit my favorite flower shop, the Sag Harbor Florist, where I’m inspired by their vignettes of cut flowers, potted plants and accessories all beautifully stylized in a creative way. Just outside of town and across from the harbor in Sag Harbor, this small shop is packed with lots of style and inspiration. Once my summer garden starts to wane, the shop provides interesting cut flowers and potted plants to add to my home. While meandering in the shop recently I picked up some ideas for adding creativity to an upcoming party I was hosting. I used my outdoor garden fountain and statue on our dining table to add whimsy and remind us of our love for the garden. I filled the well of the fountain with my white hydrangeas, and set against an aqua tablecloth and white garden chairs, the fountain repurposed made a stunning and inviting table. Another interesting idea for creative tabletop centerpieces is to use galvanized pots or oversized baskets or trays on a dining table filled with a combination of fruit and vegetable arrangements. Last year I created a cornucopia of artichokes, pumpkins, squash and apples mixed with ivy for an elaborate garden party in a vineyard. I like to arrange varying color combinations, shapes and textures with potted flowers and accessories for drama. Potted plants, like orchids and green topiary, bring nature into your home, plus they have staying power and are low maintenance. If taken care of properly, orchids can last a few months—but only water them once a week. I usually only soak their bottoms in the sink. Remember to ask the florist for advice when purchasing potted plants and flowers, and they can tell you which plants will thrive indoors, and whether or not they need light or shade, so you can place them in the appropriate area in your home.
If you pine away for the pretty, lush hydrangeas seen everywhere in the Hamptons during summer like I do, drying them for fall arrangements is another way to keep flowers in your home during the upcoming season. To dry them, cut the stems when in their prime and still full of color, then snip the bottoms, wrap with raffia, spray them well with hairspray and hang upside down for a week in a dry area. They will turn a lovely ombre of colors, holding a nice patina while providing you with a pretty arrangement that will last you through winter.
These are only some of the ways to keep nature close during the ensuing months when it starts getting cold outside. With October just around the corner, we will soon be touring the orchards to pick pumpkins and apples and bring them home for our holiday cooking. For now, let’s celebrate the bountiful season the fall has to offer the East End, and after a summer of outdoor parties and barbecues, let the indoor celebrating begin!