Design, Gardening How-Tos, In the Garden

All Around the House: Decorating with Pumpkins

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Who doesn’t love driving past a farm stand packed with those jolly, fat fellows that always signal “it’s fall.” And I’ve noticed this year that more of the quirky, odd-colored pumpkins are making a showing — my favorites!

Inspired by those I chose to bring home, I decided they deserved more than a stacking at the front door. Something new for this year…actually designing around their colors and shapes, selecting plant material to create arrangements that will be around the house for the month of November.

With this arrangement, I actually chose a favorite metal garden topiary form that could only be shown off to its full advantage with a twining vine, accentuating its curves…bittersweet. Its pliable form and red/golden berries pick up the orange markings on the deep green pumpkin (can you get any funkier than this example?). Of course, we all know that bittersweet is terribly invasive (and all my garden club friends are shaking their fingers at me). But I’m making an exception, cutting only what is needed for the arrangement and keeping it contained to just this one design. And then it will be burned in the fireplace.

Note: Spraying the vines heavily with hairspray will help keep the berries in place.

How-To Create a Pumpkin Arrangement

Materials: Pumpkin, Bittersweet, Moss and Aleene’s Original Tacky Glue

1. Cut off the top of the pumpkin and dig out enough to fit the form securely in place; fill with dirt.
2. Squeeze glue along the cut rim of the pumpkin. Place a collar of green moss around the entire rim and press firmly into the glue. Plant other small greenery into the dirt so that it comes out over the edge (we used iron vine).
3. Choosing three or four of the longest and most pliable branches, stake them into the dirt and weave in and out of the metal ribs; wind them up to and around the narrow top.

4. Finish by taking shorter, curved branches and running them up the alternating ribs of the form.
5. Add another curved  branch extending down  either side of the pumpkin to add interest.

5. Clip off any straight, projecting branches that interrupt the flow and form of the topiary piece itself which will also allow the top detail to be well shown off.

And now for decorating with this arrangement…all around the house.

Have fun!!

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

6 thoughts on “All Around the House: Decorating with Pumpkins

  1. This is wonderful! I’ve not seen a topiary pumpkin form before. Did you buy it from a specialty store? I would love to purchase one and try my hand at this. What a great idea!

  2. Where can I buy Or find a metal Garden Topiary like the one in your above article? Thank You! Please do not print!

  3. Honestly Bettie, your talents never cease to amaze me. And those Limelight hydrangeas, what a treat!

  4. Love this…I am going out now to pick up supplies and make for my home now! Bettie, you are so creative. Thanks for the gorgeous idea.


  5. Betty,
    My favorite fall thing is bittersweet! Can spray less expensively with acrylic from paint store ……holds yellow husk. My
    N. C. mountain friends have in mental list with poison ivy as it invades the woods.
    Love it…love it… it!
    Enjoy all you share.
    Happy Thanksgiving,

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