A few years ago at market, I happened upon metal orbs and fell hard for these minimalist tools that offer limitless decorating possibilities. They are so simple — just a few straps of metal form the faintest outlines of a globe — but they are bursting with drama. And with their aged patina, they are ideal tools for fall decorating. Here are some ideas to inspire you.
An orb can bring structure to a bouquet of fall foliage without stifling it. A glorious display that once sat at the center of my outdoor dining table was a snap to make. We topped an iron garden urn with an orb, then used it to hold in place a wild assortment of fallen sticks and faux fall branches and picks. We kept the focal point on target by squeezing three small pumpkins in the center of the orb.
I got iron pillars years ago and planted them in a corner of my garden. Each season, I concoct a different display on these three peaks. One was a soft, soothing fall motif that was done in a flash. After topping each pillar with a pinch of Spanish moss, I rested iron bird figurines on two and an orb holding a fake white pumpkin on the third. You could easily replace each of the bird figurines with a large white pumpkin.
When we plan my fall open house every year, we put a lot of thought into decorating the front porch, the first place guests see. Last year, orbs did the trick. We made twin designs in the two iron urns flanking my front door. We started with mounded nests of mixed mosses for color and texture. Then we placed the orbs on top, filling each with a small, tight bouquet of fall foliage and a plump pine cone.
Another possibility is placing an orb by a cherub garden statue, and filling it with fall foliage.
We treat the orb’s interior as a stage, filled with all sorts of interesting elements. One time, we inserted a bronze English equestrian statue. You could use all kinds of figurines that speak of fall. Realistic faux birds would also be lovely, like pheasants, quail or owls.
Not one for arranging intricate displays? Try this trick. Rest an orb on the mouth of an urn, then stick in an assortment of fall foliage. It’s so easy, you don’t have to be good at flower-arranging to pull it off. (I say this because I am NOT good at flower-arranging.)
I recently talked about using lanterns in fall decor. Think about combining both of these fabulous tools in one great display. For example, open an orb to insert a lantern holding a battery-operated candle. (This would be ideal with a candle that works with a remote control or timer so you wouldn’t have to hassle with opening up the lantern to light it.) Then create an asymmetrical spray of fall foliage and berries, fanning up and down and around the orb.
(The column has been adapted from Mary Carol Garrity’s blog at www.nellhills.com. Email email@example.com.)