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Famously fall is the festive time of bountiful harvests, and for those of us who grow gardens with that in mind, it’s one of those occasions when we have more produce than we know what to do with. Luckily, much of what we harvest in late fall keeps very well when stored as-is, no canning or freezing required.

With that in mind, we are afforded the opportunity to display the fruits of our labor, to celebrate them by festooning our homes with a cornucopia of squashes and pumpkins and cabbages and corn and fruit and nuts and aromatic herbs and even flowers. Even better, our beautiful decorations will soon enough be dinner.

A house filled with fresh, delicious produce can’t help but exude some semblance of happiness, and with the darkness of winter looming, that can come in handy. So, why not make the most of what we’ve got, even before we eat it!

Table Centerpiece

Find a large ceramic bowl, a nice platter, or even a basket, and use this week’s produce as a centerpiece on the dinner table or breakfast bar. Sweet potatoes, acorn squash, apples, and so on make for colorful and delicious eye candy to enjoy until they come up on the menu. Once a week or every couple of days, refresh the centerpiece with a new crop.

Autumnal Entrance

For those of us who have grown pumpkins and winter squashes, it can be a struggle to find somewhere to store them all. Fear not and don’t hide them away. In the foyer or near the kitchen door, set out a beautiful line of pumpkins and squashes along the wall at the entrance. Find little stools or upturn buckets to put them at different heights.

Harvest Wagon/Wheelbarrow

For those of us with a little extra space or a nice open corner (say where the Christmas tree might go), a garden wagon or wheelbarrow full of autumn produce can be a colorful seasonal display to enjoy. Again, this can be an ornamental pantry of sorts that provides the ingredients for the week’s (or month’s) meals and be restocked every so often.

Fall Flower Bouquet Flashes

As the beautiful fall flowers put out their last blooms or dry up into handsome vestiges of their formerly colorful selves, we can collect them into neat bundles to stand amongst our dinner table vegetable displays or coffee table conversation pieces. We can include edible flowers like pansies, violas, petunias, and dianthus (aka pinks) to make the bouquets delicious, too.

Ornamental Corn

While it would sacrilege to overripen sweet corn and set it out dry as a display, there are corn varieties that are just right for doing this. “Ornamental” corn tends to be colorful ears that have kernels ranging from yellow and white to orange, purple, and black. It can be placed around to add a fall harvest feeling. In reality, ornamental corn is flint corn, which Native Americans used. It can be popped as popcorn, or it can be ground and used as cornmeal or grits. The husks of ornamental corn can be used for making wreaths as well.

Hanging Herbs

As the frost begins to threaten, it’s time to pick a load of fresh herbs to dry for the winter. Springs of basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, tarragon, mint, oregano, and so on can be gathered into bunches, tied at the stem, and hung from a string somewhere where their aroma and the visual can be enjoyed. A few strains of drying herbs can really provide an autumn ambiance.

Pumpkin/Squash Doorstop

Growing pumpkins and winter squashes equates to a lot of food from the garden that can be enjoyed throughout the winter. The problem, however, can be storing them. They are so large and, thus, require so much space to store. Or, it can be fun to dot them around as décor. One really fun solution for this is using them as doorstops. They work great, and the skin is tough enough to withstand some scuffing.

Sometimes a good edible display is as simple as sticking some fruit or veg in a bowl on the counter. It’s attractive, functional, and reminds us to be thankful for the delicious autumn harvest we’ll hopefully enjoy until next spring.

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