With Halloween being a mere two weeks away, it seems fitting to get into the ghoulish spirit by creating the following centerpiece that makes good use of local produce and the back woods. Now available in produce stands and supermarkets, gourds are inexpensive and colorful, and autumn leaves, shed bark, and mosses are acquired easily from the garden or woodlands.
Duff/Filler material (needles; soil; rocks)
Platform (size and material will vary depending on availability)
Mosses should not be gathered from the wild indiscriminately and only small quantities should be collected for the purpose. The mosses here were returned to the places where they were originally gathered. It is important to seek permission if mosses are to be harvested on private property; in national parks, a permit is required.
Start layering the mosses on the platform. To vary the height, place duff/filler material on which the mosses can be secured. You may have to play around or adjust accordingly until the desired heights or moss patterns is to your liking. Because the platform is a polished mirror, its surface had to be completely covered to provide support for the incoming props.
Once the mosses have been placed satisfactorily, start considering the position of accents, such as lichens, mushrooms, tree seedlings (a red maple seedling was carefully dug up and used here), or bark. Alternatively this step can wait after the skulls or gourds are added.
Play with the gourds’ positions until they are satisfactory. You might want to aim for some contrast in color or shapes. Not all need to be used if they do not fit the overall arrangement. Be sure to leave for other accents, such as the skulls or bones.
The skull, ringed by gourds, has been given a prominent place as the arrangement’s focal point. Evaluate whether the entire arrangement flows well or not. At this point, you can begin to take away or edit out the accents. We decided to remove the orange gourd on the left since the orange color detracted, not enhanced the grouping. The color itself was too dominant.
Carefully move the arrangement and set it wherever you desire. Place two candles low enough in height as not to block the line of vision. Do not set the candles too close otherwise you risk burning or setting fire to the arrangement. Any live material is flammable or combustible!