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A colorful Thanksgiving welcome

  • Porter Susan Hatch, a manager with Kings Nursery, worked with her sister Julie Owens (not pictured) at Owens' home to decorate the front porch with pots and fall color in Santa Rosa. (KENT PORTER / PD)

You've dusted, vacuumed, washed the windows, scrubbed the bathroom, polished the floor and purged yourself of those piles of old magazines and newspapers. You've created an autumnal centerpiece, ironed the linens, washed the fine china and set out a few mini pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn. Your house is finally ready for Thanksgiving guests.

Or is it?

What will guests see as they stand on your porch with their hot dish offerings, bottles of wine or pies, waiting for you to answer the doorbell?

Colorful Fall Entryways


Homeowners who obsessively turn their homes into roadside attractions for Christmas with lights, wreaths and decorations may completely miss the gravyboat when it comes to setting the stage for Thanksgiving.

The entry is an easy place to forget, says Fionuala Campion of Cottage Gardens Nursery in Petaluma.

“Most people go in and out through the garage. You honestly don't even see the entryway unless someone you know is at the door. And when you're not walking back and forth on your front porch, you may not even notice, or take care of, the plants on your doorstep. You don't even see the your porch until your guests arrive,” she added.

To create a cozy autumnal feeling, try adding some pots or containers to your porch — or freshen the ones you already have — with plants whose colors will telegraph the season and make your home more inviting.

This doesn't have to be a big project, just a trip to the nursery for some potting soil and a few plants.

Choose pots that are terra-cotta or have earthy tones. They don't have to match, just work well together, says Susan Hatch, co-manager of King's Nursery in Santa Rosa.

You might also create several sizes for visual interest, like several tall urns with a few low pots or bowls.

If your existing pots are too bright or summery, Campion says, you don't have to buy new ones. Simply tone them down for fall by wrapping them in burlap or raffia ribbon.

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