Homes & Interiors

How to create a foliage wall – for a stunning fall display

Collect bracken and red berries and celebrate fall with a dramatic display around a fireplace, across a mantel, or along a wall – from floral designer Brigitte Girling

fall flower and foliage display around a mantle
(Image credit: Brigitte Girling)

To welcome the season, this foliage wall from floral designer Brigitte Girling celebrates the color and beauty of fall. Add it to your repertoire of fall decor ideas to bring warmth and atmosphere to your home.

Sweetly scented, ripening golden quince combined with curling bracken and dried asparagus fern spangled with red berries makes for a simple but dramatic display that will last for weeks if you wish. 

How to create a foliage wall display for fall

fall flower and foliage display around a mantle

(Image credit: Brigitte Girling)

This showstopper arrangement is created to surround the fireplace but you can adapt the display to create a more pared-back fall mantel idea. For a simpler treatment, drape bracken and fern along a mantel or hang from beams to bring seasonal color to your home. And – if you love a coordinated look – you can match it to your fall table decor ideas.

This display is easier than it looks to put together. Be creative. If you don't have a fireplace or mantel, you could arrange foliage along a bare wall, around artworks or furniture, over beams or along a table.

You will need:

  • Foliage such as bracken and ferns.
  • Nails, picture hooks and strong fishing wire to attach your display.

Brigitte Girling grows the flowers and foliage for her displays in her own chemical-free wildlife garden.

1. Fix up nails and hooks

fall flower and foliage display around a mantle

(Image credit: Brigitte Girling)

You may already have nails and hooks in your wall. If not, fix them in place, so they create a roughly diagonal trail from the floor to the ceiling. 

Wind the fishing wire around the nails to create a line that you will thread the foliage into.

2. Attach your foliage

fall flower and foliage display around a mantle

(Image credit: Brigitte Girling)

Begin at the bottom, wrapping a single stem around the fishing wire. Then add more ingredients to give the look of a climbing plant growing up the wall.

To ensure a sense of lightness and fragility, keep standing back to check that you’re not overdoing it. Less is more in this case.

3. Add pears or quince to the mantel

fall flower and foliage display around a mantle

(Image credit: Brigitte Girling)

Balance the display with a few quince or golden pears placed on to the mantel to scent the room.

Adding fruit is also a brilliant way to add color to fall tablescapes if fresh flowers are out of season or hard to find.

4. Add a flicker to the fireplace

fall flower and foliage display around a mantle

(Image credit: Brigitte Girling)

Fill the stove with candles to give the flicker of warmth; it’s best not to light a real fire if you are using dry ingredients. 

This display will easily last a couple of weeks.

6 tips to forage safely for plants

1. Take very little and don’t take any if there is only a little of that plant growing.

2. Don’t dig anything up by the roots.

3. Never trespass.

4. Never gather invasive species.

5. Never gather rare or protected native plants.

6. Know your plants, so you don’t pick toxic varieties.

Andrea Childs
Andrea Childs

I've been immersed in the world of homes, interiors and lifestyle since my first job in journalism, on Ideal Home. I went from women's magazine Options to Frank, a brand new title from the publishers of The Face and Arena. From there it was on to the launch of Red magazine, where I stayed for 10 years and became Assistant Editor. Two children and a move to the coast meant it was time to shift into freelancing, and I spent 14 exciting years writing for everyone from The Telegraph to The Sunday Times, Livingetc, Stylist and Woman & Home. When I was offered the job as Editor on Country Homes & Interiors, I couldn't resist – and now I combine that role with developing the H&G Country channel.