We should do well to imitate the squirrel by storing up for the winter months in the time of plenty. Few of us remember that so many of the autumn treasures can be preserved for our use in winter-time, and each year leaves and berries find their way to the rubbish-heap, or are left to die on the trees, when, with a little trouble, they might be kept to gladden our hearts in the dull days. What is more beautiful than the placentas of the honesty, a plant that can easily be grown in any garden ? These placentas rival mother-o'-pearl, and in the light reflect colours just as pearls do. When the honesty has gone to seed, and the seed-pods are quite brown, they should be gathered in bunches. Cut with stalks as long as possible; remove the brown outer skin from either side with the fingers. The seeds are then taken away, and the pearly portion remains. It looks charming mixed with the flaming Cape gooseberry - another plant that should be cultivated for winter use - and arranged in old-world jars forms an ideal decoration for an orange-and-white room.
Candelabrum triangle of rowan-berries and baskets daintily arranged
This combination can also be used with good effect for table decoration. Fill a set of Coalport china vases with them, and place them on a loosely ruffled slip of chiffon that shades from white to deepest orange. Have all the little etcaeteras of the table service to correspond in colour.
The rowan-berries are a lovely shade of red that makes them particularly suitable for winter decoration. If they are packed in salt they will keep fresh and bright for Christmas, when they can be utilised in conjunction with holly-leaves.
A design for rowan-berries is here depicted, in which they have been used with their own leaves. A triangle has been formed by laying them flat on the tablecloth in the centre of the table. In the middle of this stands a candelabrum with red silk shades. Three garlands of creeper-leaves, entwined with red satin bebe ribbons, are suspended from the candelabrum to the corners of the triangle.
At the corners of the table miniature baskets are placed. These have been painted silver, lined with ruches of red crinkled tissue-paper, and the handles twined with sprays of creeper, and the baskets are filled with white fondants.
The ice-cases consist of souffle-cases, with two rows of tinted autumn leaves round them. These leaves are made of stiff paper, and coloured in natural colours.
Grasses for Winter Decoration
Reed grasses, fine grasses, and the various kinds of teasels should all be dried for winter use. When cut they should be tied in bunches and hung, heads downwards, until dry, and then they will stand well and not be limp. Reed grasses are handsome in pottery jars on pedestals for the corners of rooms. Bulrushes also look well mixed with them. The blue teasels are pretty for table decoration. In the illustration they are arranged in a tall white glass vase, with a spray of ruddy blackberry foliage twined round the stem.
The vase is placed upon a white lace d'oyley, and a similar d'oyley is placed for each plate. From the centre to the corners and sides of the table graceful trails of blackberry foliage with berries are arranged, and clusters of cob-nuts are placed about the table. The candlesticks are of white china with Empire shades.
Use little baskets for the sweetmeats, and fill them with imitation blackberry sweets.
Another delightful scheme can be carried out with autumn leaves and white china figure vases. Any pretty autumn foliage would be suitable for this - such as the red ornamental plum-tree, copper beech, golden elder, or the variegated maple; the latter being especially effective. The contrast of the pale green and white is particularly light and pretty for table use.
Use figure vases suitable for the time of harvest - such as a girl carrying corn and a sickle, and a boy with a hamper of grapes. The vases are plentifully filled with sprays of the variegated maple, so that each figure appears standing under a bower of it. Sprays of the foliage are also used to form a design on the cloth, wreaths of it being placed around the base of the figures, and lines of foliage arranged between the guests.
Hips and haws may be used in white vases with sprays of copper beech. Use a set of five vases - one rather tall, two a little smaller, and two smaller still. Fill them with small sprays of the beech and a goodly number of the bright hips and haws. Then take a number of small ones or of any kind of red berry that is plentiful, and having cut off their stalks closely, thread them on to cotton or fine wire, and festoon these berry garlands from one vase to another, connecting the whole five in this way.
Collect fir-cones, large and small, and you will be able- to make all kinds of pretty things with them during the long winter evenings. For example, a cigar-box can be made into a novel receptacle for ferns or growing bulbs.
Remove the lid and hinges. Cut a number of small fir-cones in halves, and glue them on to the sides and ends of the box outside, covering the box with them. You can then enamel it any colour that you wish, or, what is perhaps prettier, gild it with good gold paint. Then purchase a tin that will go into the box, as nearly the same shape as possible, and in this plant little ferns, growing bulbs or lilies-of-the-valley, and you will have a very pretty centre for your table.
A mirror brightens the effect of foliage on the table, and the very simplest arrangement may be the most charming in reality. A long, narrow strip of looking-glass or any shaped piece that you happen to possess can be utilised.
On the centre is placed a white china swan, filled with a maidenhair fern or any pretty foliage plant.
The edges of the mirror are then hidden by trails of tinted leaves and berries. Any kind of light creeper is suitable for this, and trails of it are also arranged to the edges of the table.
The table shown on this page is an uncommon combination of heather, white shaggy chrysanthemums, and the foliage of the purple plum. The vases are filled with the chrysanthemums and foliage, and clusters of heather are arranged round them on the cloth.
Chrysanthemums in dainty vases and a liberal supply of foliage, with white heather beneath the stands, combine for a beautiful effect
The purple plum is a charming contrast to the white chrysanthemums. Use plenty of foliage and just a few good chrysanthemum blooms. Stand them about the table, as shown in the illustration, and arrange the clusters of white heather in circles around each vase.
If you have not any quantity of white heather, use purple; it harmonises well with the foliage. You can then reserve any white heather you have to adorn the menus, guest-cards, and sweet-baskets.
For the menus use cards in a pale shade of heather purple, and fasten a tiny sprig of white heather to the left-hand top corner, with a liliputian bow of satin ribbon the same hue as the card. For the guest-cards use smaller cards to match and decorated in the same way. Tiny baskets in green rush would be pretty for the sweets, when trimmed with rosettes of the ribbon and sprays of white heather and filled with mauve and white sweets.
The white fluffy wild clematis, traveller's joy, or what is more generally called ' old man's beard "when it has gone to seed, is effective for table use in conjunction with any bright red berries. Use vases filled with them, and have trails of the clematis between each guest-place, with red berries placed here and there among the trails.