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A Halo of Fall Foliage


A Halo of Fall Foliage

Cristina Soriano

I may say this every year, but the colors of the foliage this fall were absolutely incredible. I cannot get enough of the vibrant reds, oranges and golds – I find myself stopping mid stride to stare at the leaves billowing in the wind, admiring how the last warm rays of the setting sun embrace the landscape, highlighting features (strands of wheat or ornate architectural crevices) previously unnoticed. 

On one particular weekend in Millbrook, New York, I found the foliage and light so inspiring that I took Zorro on a mission to collect (and then preserve) the most beautiful leaves. I felt like one of those little girls you see in movies (remember, I didn’t grow up with fall!) dancing through a pile of fallen fronds, twirling and spinning within a sea of leaves. 

I took my harvest home, laid them out in a pile for preservation. Book after book went in a stack on top of my treasures – their weight preserving the rich colors forever.

After a long awaited few weeks, I unraveled my bio-reserve to discover beautifully pressed leaves who still possessed the same vigor and brilliance from the day they were collected.

As I do every year, I wanted to create a wreath for my front door, and rather than creating one using evergreens as I did last year, I thought how wonderful it would be to use the crimson, cardinal and cinnamon leaves to make an arrangement, and to then, hang it on my door. 

My wreath last year! 

My wreath last year! 

Here is how I did it:

Styrofoam wreath

Burlap ribbon

Pressed leaves

Chili peppers

Sweet vernal grass, or any other hay

Natural twine ribbon

Glue gun, with extra glue sticks

I first covered a styrofoam wreath mold with some burlap so that if there were to be any gaps between the leaves, the styrofoam would be covered, and the wreath look natural. I then began gluing each frond, one at a time, to the halo. I suggest placing them in slightly varying directions so that there is texture and movement, but to keep them all facing the same general orientation. 

Once I felt as though the ring was completely covered, I added some chili peppers I bought at the Union Square Farmers Market – I not only love the look of the tapered waxed peppers, but I thought it would add some textural depth as well. The chilies were not completely dried, but I knew that they do try nicely and naturally, so I did not mind using them still plump and alive. 

I made a rosette ribbon out of some natural twine and tied it around a handful of dried sweet vernal grass. I wanted to add something different to top off my wreath and thought the grass would be perfect! I collected the weed on a walk in Millbrook and had left it to dry in an empty jar on my desk. 

Et voila! An easy, festive, fall foliage wreath that brightens up any New York City apartment hallway or a country home’s front door.


My fall foliage halo now hangs on my front door, warmly welcoming all my guests and reminding me, of this year’s spectacular autumn colors! 

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