Cultivating our First Fall Garden

Fall foliage is THE big marker of a changing season. Of course, living among the palm trees means you can miss these tell-tale signs. Then, before you know it, Thanksgiving is here! While I’ll always take blue sky over the rainy days of my PNW past, I do love the lush colors and textures of autumn. Nowhere are they more present in a fall garden! 

Anita in the backyard, holding out a plant

I try to make a point of helping our outdoor spaces transition alongside us. But in years past, I’ve gotten caught up in the whirl of productivity that kicks in just as summer ends. I always feel like we rush through fall to get to the winter holidays. We’ve never had time to just live in the moment. But with Covid, it seems like we finally might have the chance to savor the season.

This year, I wanted to get ahead of the game and plant an autumnal crop in time to enjoy the harvest season! 

Upgrading Our Fall Garden

In the spirit of the fall, I recently made a fun trip to my favorite local nursery. They do a wonderful job celebrating every seasonal shift, and this time of year is no exception! The variety of pumpkins to decorate was incredible, and I like taking inspiration from the way they’re styled in the space. 

Pumpkins abound at the nursery! Interspersed with corn husks and succulents.

I would have LOVED to plant pumpkins for a fall garden, and I’m so sad we missed the opportunity! I realized during our visit that we would have needed to plant way back in August. Apparently, pumpkin seedlings do NOT tolerate frost, which is funny because I had always associated them with cool weather. Such are the learnings of a first year gardener. 

Instead of pumpkins, I got snow peas, broccoli, and cauliflower for our garden boxes. Gone are the strawberries and tomatoes! It feels like saying goodbye to summer in preparation for fall. We’ll harvest in two months, and they’ll be the perfect addition to our Thanksgiving table! 

I also spruced up our backyard planters with festive fall colors, which pop even more against our newly-painted Mid Century Modern Fence. We used Sherwin-Williams 2021 Color of the Year, which we revealed last month! It made all the difference in taking our backyard into a warmer, cozier space.   

Beyond the backyard, planters are a great way to bring fall florals and herb gardens to apartment living. Ours are from WallyGro, and their indoor options are also beautiful! There are so many ways to style them, and they add great vertical interest to a room. I was fascinated by the way the nursery used large oversized hanging planters with a mix of lovely fall colors. The magenta flowers were almost neon, but it worked!

Hanging planters in the nursery, featuring several plant combinations in leafy greens and bright florals

Pumpkin Party!

Every year around this time, my friends and I host a DIY succulent pumpkin gathering. I love it as an alternative to pumpkin-carving, almost like an unexpected fall floral arrangement. I even found some elegant succulent pumpkins at the nursery. They were gorgeous, but I secretly chuckled because I knew how EASY they are to make—and at a fraction of the price!

A grey speckled pumpkin with an array of succulents on its top

Pro tip: Trader Joe’s has by far the most affordable princess pumpkins for this fun DIY. Plus, there’s a great variety to choose from: grey-green, white, blush-orange, and warty pumpkins all in addition to the standard orange. 

Since this is an outdoor activity, our party was still on! Everybody brought a dish, money for the succulents we provide, and their pumpkin of choice. I love seeing everyone get creative bringing their vision to life, and the finished pumpkins are so cute! Being stuck inside has made me all the more grateful for my friendships, and this time together felt like a breath of fresh air. 

Succulent Pumpkin combinations ranging from large to small

I think if Covid has taught me anything, it’s how important it is to maintain a strong sense of work-life balance. When work starts to pick up speed, I try to make time for my family, and for self-care. For me, that means getting exercise and meditation space—tending to my emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing. But there is a social component to self-care, too! 

Humans are naturally social creatures, and we need community to feel healthy and happy. Re-learning this lesson has been a valuable reminder of how much isolation affects my mental health. It can be hard to realize how isolated we actually are when we’re constantly with family members, but a close circle of women is a crucial support system! 

How have you been staying connected this season?



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