Flower of the Week! – Autumn Foliage

28/11/2012

I’ve been out of the game for a couple of weeks, and having a bloomin’ marvellous time…

So with fresh air in my lungs, and a post mulled wine and amaretto buzz in my veins, I sit at my beloved computer once again to witter on to you about a plethora of flora. Today’s star beauty takes the form of autumn foliage, and the wonderful sensory pleasures that these fiery crisp leaves impart on us all, at this time of year.

I am well aware that this blog is entitled ‘Flower of the Week’, but I make the rules here people…and this week, leaves it is. Capeesh…!

Now if I’d have known that 24 years on, whilst body slamming into a carefully constructed pile of crisp, golden oak leaves, that I would be re counting this favourite pastime of mine to readers of a blog, then perhaps I would have stopped to absorb the sounds, smells and colours with a little more sincerity, but unfortunately there was generally the pressing matter of a game of kiss-chase to contend with…

So here I am, older, less panicked by the prospect of being captured by fellow five year old puckered lipped bandits, and sadly also a little less reluctant to sweep up a pile of crisp fallen leaves to take a running jump at….

I am however, far from reluctant when it comes to admiring and marveling at the ever changing autumnal colours, textures and moreover, the potential that autumn foliage holds as being a beautiful material to work with. Incorporating these stunning leaves into designs and better still, using them as the main focus and structure of a design is something that excites me. A lot! Once a year we are presented with a vivid assortment of sumptuous colours, rich and deep and sometimes even acidic in their tone. They are crying out to be juxtaposed with vibrant and clashing hues and used to their advantage to make a statement, rather than act as a mellow filler to the classic reds and greens and browns that have traditionally suited them so well, if the game we wish to play is a safe one, of course…

Play it safe, me?…I think not!

I have never been struck with such admiration, as I was when watching an old colleague of mine in Australia mix deep red autumn foliage with hot pink bouvardia and huge, blousy Coral Charm Peonies…colours which instinctively you’d tend not to mix. But, my gosh did this collaboration…ahem, I beg your pardon… EXPLOSION, of colour titillate and excite ones senses far beyond expectation.

From that day forward, I looked at autumn foliage in a very different way altogether…Only recently did I mix deep red foliage with hot pink dahlias, acidic green Japanese lanterns, vivid orange and pink spindle tree berries, pale peach garden roses and rusty coloured hydrangeas. On paper this sounds confusing…in reality, it was good enough to eat…

My nostalgic fondness for autumn foliage will never fade, nor will my annual awe at watching the trees quietly change colour like a litter of fiery chameleons, and then charmingly and gently wilt to lay a fragile fallen carpet beneath our feet. But what has overridden all of these fundamental emotions is the overwhelming sense of excitement, at the possibilities, the ways that I can unlock and ignite the colours; deep rich and iridescent, of these beautiful elegant leaves. Leaves that so often stand untouched like a dormant Mount Pleasant amid a landscape of deep dark mahogany which, is not to be scoffed at and most certainly has its place in the design and floral world. However in my view, autumn foliage has so much more to give, like a ferocious Mt Etna, it should be enjoyed, revered, celebrated and embraced for the plentiful cornucopia of lava coloured leaves that spring to life once a year, right before our very eyes.

Why have green when you can have bright red…