Maggie's Shower

Pumpkins and pine cones aplenty, Maggie’s shower proved to be a celebration of the season and most especially, a celebratory time to shower my nephew William Napp Yelton with love. Though a New Year’s baby he will be, Maggie wished for a fun time with dearest families and friends in we Farmer three’s favorite season –  fall.

There are aspects to each season that are lovely but autumn to me is simply extra-special – a relief from the drudgingly long summer heat, a solace for wonder to fill our hearts, memories of childhood, the farm, family, and only even more wonderful to be topped off with Christmas. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – fall is a Southerner’s reward for surviving summer.

My sisters and I love the elements of this season from the scents to the sights and shades each day brings. Maggie truly wanted a time to “shower” Napp with gifts and love when she herself looked like a pumpkin! She’s as thin as she ever was ya’ll but with a perfect pumpkin as a belly! Maggie also wanted a shower that wasn’t themed specifically for a baby – she, like her brother, loves to take what is in season and use that as a nod to said season. I, though, run with an element and thus flood the steps with pumpkins!  A party is just our excuse to fluff and have fun with our homes, so why not line the steps with pumpkins of every shape, shade and size you can find?!

For the last couple of Octobers, this Farmer has been more than humbled that Southern Living used my pumpkin pairings for the cover. I thought I should practice what I preach and do the same at home. Taking a cue from the way the white pumpkins just popped from the palette, I used some good old fashioned white mums for a floral element on the steps. Fluffy asparagus fern gave some feathery green to the mix too along with little pots of parsley – I am a sucker for herbs in terra cotta pots!

The front steps were not the first spot I got into the season – the annual beds at the beginning of the walkway had some pretty tired begonias clinging on still from summertime. Fall is A TIME TO PLANT, ya’ll, so parsley, violas and snapdragons came on into the beds for bursts of color not only for now but into wintertime. The snaps will die back but will rocket into stems of outrageous blooms come springtime. Always remember – for a truly splendid spring, plant in the fall and for a fabulous fall, plant in the spring. When fall has passed and winter’s grayness has set in, I’ll be ever so thankful for my plot of parsley et al – a speck of green for the wintertime before the true riot of spring.

As for the door proper, pine cone and magnolia pod wreaths were interlaced with bittersweet. I think brown and orange is so handsome in many forms for fall – leaves and bark on the trees, pecans and other nuts with citrus or pumpkins and berries with pinecones. With a lively entryway leading one into the home, a more subdued pairing of browns and oranges was completely apropos.

I always tell folks if they are overwhelmed with gussying up the house for a party, just concentrate your time and talents to the door, mantel and table. As for the mantel, I filled some antique jardinerres with nearly pink pumpkins in the softest shades of apricot, umber and salmon. Twines of bittersweet create movement and a touch of drama while nests of hydrangeas dried from the summer fill in the gaps and create a soft palette of blues, lilacs and greens to complement the pastel pumpkins.

As is our custom for big parties, we love a big ol’ arrangement on the dining room table. This takes the need away from having to have bouquets on everything that stands still and sets a fun tone for the gathering. Dried hydrangeas, okra and lotus pods, nandina and bittersweet berries, wheat, Mexican salvia and agarista billowed forth from one of my favorite containers – a San Miguel blue and white vessel. I did use some oasis for the fresh cut salvia and agarista, but once those stems are through soaking, the whole arrangement will dry beautifully and last well into the season – maybe just a fluff is all it may need and this same centerpiece will be right at home for Thanksgiving. I love having an event where the décor can be enjoyed not just for a short time, but for a season.

A couple other little arrangements did dot key places that should be fluffed when entertaining – the coffee table and powder room. Apricot hued chrysanthemums (gifts from one of my favorite growers) are daisy shaped blooms sporting their elegant, softly tinted blossoms this time of year. A few sprigs from a favorite begonia, some ‘Little Lamb’ hydrangea blossoms, magnolia and plumes of pink muhly grass round out the bowl set on the coffee table. A similar composition was tucked perfectly into a silver julep cup in the powder room. Remember – your guests are all going to eat and powder their noses sometime during the party, so make sure both locales are decked!

Other little touches abounded from photos of “the belly” strung together on the kitchen mantel to cups labeled with little Napp’s name to a cake ever so whimsical and adorable. The cake, made by the fantastic Lisa Mae not only was a feast for the eyes, but also a delight for the taste buds – it was delicious! We did hate to slice it but only until we had the first bite! The fern fronds, acorns and forest friends were absolutely astounding and the cake could not have been more apropos for the party.

Our cousin-in-law made a phenomenal “diaper cake”  that took an amazing amount of time and talent and sweet friends hosted, cooked and greeted everyone – doing as exactly as these hostesses always do by making each and everyone feel right at home. Since we were all together, Mama snagged us for a photo shoot – whether the five of us (counting Napp) amidst the pumpkins goes out as this year’s Christmas card or the six of us (Napp AND Mama) makes it in the mail is her call but regardless, each and every moment together was special, heartwarming and simply joyous. Big Napp (aka Granddaddy) made a cameo too and the whole day could not have been better.

So whether your siblings are expecting or you just want to have fun with the season, I wish the happiest of fall for ya’ll!