Pumpkins and Palm Trees on Florida's Gulf Coast


“Never Miss an Opportunity to Celebrate Everyday” 

- Laura Johnson

Yes, Floridians do celebrate autumn with gusto!

A true New Englander at heart, I did not expect the post-Labor Day flip of the switch to happen down here on the Gulf Coast. Floridians most definitely embrace the seasonal changes, just as we do up north, and with an ebullient welcome, I might add, including shedding their white clothing! While the temps outside continue to be in the 80s, it’s back-to-school, business as usual, with the sounds of school buses rolling out early and children’s laughter bellowing through neighborhoods. Outdoor cafes are bustling and booming as restaurants throw open their glass walls and dining outside is welcomed once again after a long and seethingly hot & humid summer in air-conditioning. Chefs around the city pay homage to a new season with autumnal offerings of duck and butternut squash. Stores are full of flowers and décor in rust, yellow, aubergine and orange. But the biggest nod to autumn is the shorter and shorter days, beckoning residents to bid adieu to summer. And last, but certainly not least, Starbucks switches to its Pumpkin Spice Latte. I feel right at home!

My tablescape goal was to blend an autumnal design and a tropical feel by setting an alfresco spread  poolside under an arbor of palm trees. The evenings are so lovely and the Tampa Bay breezes coming off the Gulf at night are exquisite.

I turned to one of my favorite Tampa boutiques, Coton Colors™, otherwise known as the Happy Everything™

Coton Colors™

Laura Johnson, Founding Artist and CEO, began creating these works of art in her garage 20 years ago! Today, there are three stores, mostly run by family, and thousands of products, with 329 new products just this year!

I chose the chargers for their epic size and impact and the salad plates from the NEW “Spot On” collection. I mean, everyone knows I’m obsessed with green, so you can imagine how my heart stood still when I laid my eyes on this emerald, ruffled-rimmed edge collection. I knew it was going to jump off the shelves and right onto my Lyonslifestyle pages!

Emerald conjures up feelings of nature and calm as it’s the color our outdoor world is abundantly filled with. It’s peaceful and replenishing. It’s rich, bold and beautiful like an emerald ring. It nurtures us…

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Next up, the autumnal twist would be none other than the orange pumpkin! I mean… really, what else could be more perfect? Orange and emerald! I incorporated everything I owned that is orange, including a lacquered tray to house the gourds, pumpkins and potted herbs. My dot on the “I” though was a pair of orange porcelain lamps, a Christmas gift from husband years ago. I added robust sized (adds to the scale and drama) natural color straw shades to coordinate with the outside Spanish architecture.

I love lamps on a table! All tables! Especially the symmetry of two, and the cozy, romantic evening lighting it provides at sundown. Bring your lamps outside!

 I often look to organic décor for my tables, using fruits, vegetables, potted plants or herbs. An array of orange and green peppers and avocados made their scattered way along the table and added to the color scheme along with my favorite emerald water goblets.

The presents scattered around the table are for the guests and we so know where those beautiful little orange boxes are from!



It was Happy Everything and completely “Spot On”!