Get down and dirty in the garden
October is my favorite month.I get REALLY excited about Halloween. I especially love reading Martha Stewart’s Halloween issue. But, when cutting out construction paper bats and applying a perfectly manicured mansion to the top of a three-layer cake just becomes too laborious, I go out and look for my own terrifying trinkets, and I’d like to share with you a few of my finds!
1. Use your Hosta. By now, your Hosta flowers should be about spent, leaving their white, lonely sticks jutting into the air like skeleton fingers. Normally you might just trim them down, but this year, recycle your plant. Using both hands, gently pull each of the sticks from the plant. They are very brittle, so pull from the base. The long shoots (three of mine are over 6 feet!) make for a creepy vase arrangement, but one that could work year-round.
2. Use your Day Lily. Harvested the same way, Day Lily sticks are much less brittle, which makes them more accessible for other uses. I took last year’s sticks and with a long piece of jute twine, tied them to a small broken tree branch to make an authentic and unique witch’s broom. You could also trim and de-leaf your Spirea bushes for a smaller broom.
The chandelier in my dining room is boring, so I hung some sticks from it tied with spent Morning Glory vines, to up the creep factor. Day lily sticks also look great just in a vase, and cleaned Morning Glory vines could be draped eeriely almost anywhere.
3. Use your old records. These record bowls are great candy dishes (especially for candy corn), not to mention great conversational pieces. Plus, they’re easy to make: Find an old record or buy one cheap at a thrift shop. Put a terracotta pot upside down on a cookie sheet, place the record on top, set the oven at 200 and watch it melt, it won’t take long.
4. Use your artistic skills. Art projects are fun for the family or for parties. To make this Hocus Pocus inspired spell-book, I took a hollowed-out book from a craft shop and covered it in a polymer clay called Bake-n-Bend, which doesn’t harden until baked. I found a pair of mannequin eyes and hand-stitched the cover to look like human skin as described in the movie.
5. Use your imagination. Find things in your garden you could use and be creative. These are birdhouse gourds I grew two years ago that are just waiting to be painted and hung from the ceiling.
If you find or come up with any fun ideas, drop a comment! Or, if you want any help with some of mine, email me.