Decorating can be a chore if it requires a trip to the attic, unloading boxes, cleaning stored items and assembling them. Which is why I love decorating in fall, the harvest season. When autumn's chill makes its way into the area, I like to adorn my home and garden with garden-center items. Since October is just around the corner, I recently paid a visit to Cerbo’s in Parsippany for some inspiration.
Cerbo’s Greenhouse and Garden Center (440 Littleton Road/Route 202) is open at 8:30 a.m., an ideal time to shop. There was no one around and I had the place (and one of the owners) all to myself. I found Judy Cerbo Mahon, who shared tips for decorating for fall using locally grown items that are reasonably priced.
I really haven’t planted much in the fall. When I asked Judy about autumn planting, she said this season “is the number one time to plant,” because planting now gives plants time to take root before the spring.
The problem that plagues me in Parsippany is squirrels. I did try to plant fall bulbs a few years ago, but they were gone within a matter of hours. It was so frustrating, because I not only had no plants to look forward to, the critters left holes all over my lawn. Judy recommended holding off on planting until the ground is even cooler, and then to use animal repellent regularly.
Based on her advice, I’m going to give fall planting another shot. Cerbo’s has a large assortment of perennials that are very tempting. Annuals, planted in spring, are my usual, but there are a few spots in the garden that I would like to fill in with flowers that come back year after year.
Fall Decor Items
I've heard that local growers have suffered repercussions from Hurricane and Tropical Storm Irene. Not seeing any pumpkins, I asked Judy if that was the case.
She said that Cerbo’s farms in Sussex County really didn’t have issues with their growing season. They expect their first shipment of pumpkins to come in this week. Also coming soon: hay bales and corn stalks for decorations.
On display, I noted that they already have:
- A variety of funky looking gourds
- Pre-made scarecrows
- Gorgeous pots of mums in different sizes
I was pleasantly surprised by the prices. My husband is a Home Depot junkie, so I usually pick up my plants there while he looks at power tools. I’m sold on Cerbo’s, though. Unlike Home Depot, I don’t find myself wanting to sort through the plants to find “a good one,” since all of them seem well tended. This weekend I want to go back with my husband and try the wagonload of perennials that's on sale for $75.
I also may pick up the following, which seem like good deals: mini-pumpkins (99 cents each) and 9-inch mums (three for $14.80). I will try my hand at making a scarecrow out of my husband's clothes with my toddler. I plan on taking pictures of our holiday decorating and including them in a future article.
When you park your car and walk toward the front door, you'll see a new flier updated weekly that presents the current deals. This week's are:
A wagonload of perennials for $75 (Typically a wagonload can run up to $180, so this is about 60 percent less).
- 25 to 50 percent off nursery items
- $119 for 15 gallon trees
- 25 percent off metal furniture
- 50 percent off bird seed
- 25 percent off bird baths
Cerbo’s presents a coupon page on its website. Current offers are 50 percent off any Halloween flag, 50 percent off any candle and 20 percent off any one item at regular price. All expire on Sept. 30.
Please contact me if you and your family are decorating for the holidays and tell me how you decorate on a budget. I'd love to include your tips and photos in an upcoming article.