We enjoyed spectacular fall color in our backyard this year. Except for our oak trees which hold their leaves for most of the winter, nearly every tree around us is now bare. We keep leaf cleanup simple by raking leaves to cover our garden beds (free mulch and winter protection for bare soil) and then mowing over the rest since the chopped up, decaying leaves will feed the lawn. The day after Halloween, I stored away all of our spooky decorations leaving just a few fall touches around the house like dried florals and white ceramic pumpkins. While I love the unexpected addition of outdoor elements indoors year-round, now almost every room will be hosting potted plants like our geraniums, topiaries, ficus tree and mandevilla vine to enjoy indoors for the winter. Before bringing in the plants, I spray down the leaves organically with neem oil to treat for spider mites, aphids, mealy bugs, etc. I spray every surface well including the top, underside of leaves and the top of the soil a few days before bringing indoors.
I like to start off the holidays with a clean home that’s ready and welcoming for guests, and always fill the little boxes and dishes in our kitchen and sitting room with nuts and candies. This past weekend I was in a cleaning frenzy I polished all of our copper including our antique English copper tea kettle which sparkles on the stovetop and will be the centerpiece of many tea breaks over the holidays. I love Wright’s Copper Cream which requires almost no elbow grease to make my copper pieces sparkle. I also pulled out all of my favorite knitwear to refresh and inspect for any holes so they’re ready to throw on against a draft. Now with a clean house, it’s time to start baking and toasting to the official start of the holidays!