Friday, September 26, 2014

Playing with Pumpkins

Pumpkin topiary. Photo:
Fall has arrived. Even though it is the perfect time to add new plants and move around existing plants (both of which I need to do), a gardener can’t be blamed for wanting a little diversion and decorating for fall instead. Pumpkins are filling the garden centers and stores and they are just begging to be part of the outdoor d├ęcor.

The new guinea impatiens on my porch have been unceremoniously replaced with a pumpkin — or probably more correctly, squash — “topiary.” Other white, green and orange squash are now sprinkled about the approach to my front steps in anticipation of trick or treaters. In my search for ideas, I thought your fall decorating might be inspired by these project photos and videos. If you’re not up for doing a pumpkin project on your own, Cornell Farm is offering two Painted Pumpkin Workshops on Sunday, October 5 (the family-friendly version is offered from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and the adult version, which includes beverages that might help your creativity, is offered from 3 - 5 p.m.). There is a fee to participate ($20 and $30 respectively for three pumpkins). Please call 503.292.9895 to reserve your space.

Hanging Pumpkin Planter: Owner Jon Karsseboom and his staff at The Garden Corner  are always thinking up creative ways to use plants and decorating for fall is no exception. In this video , Jon uses artificial pumpkins to create unique hanging planters. To my way of thinking, he’s creating little cathedrals for the plants. Consequently, I would shape the openings more like Gothic windows. If the inside of the pumpkin was painted with a glow-in-the-dark paint, I wonder if that would create interesting silhouettes at night …

Pumpkin Owl: I marvel at the creativity of some people. Add a few sunflower seeds with a glue gun to a pumpkin and what can you get? An adorable little (or big) owl! Check out the how-to video.

A Better Homes & Garden project: Metallic Pastel Pumpkins
Metallic Pastel Pumpkins: Shimmering pumpkins team up for an eerie evening. Use iridescent spray paint to cover light-color pumpkins (gray, tan, or white). While the paint is still wet, sprinkle the pumpkins with iridescent glitter.

Project: Better Homes & Gardens
Welcoming Pumpkin Wheelbarrow: Place an antique wheelbarrow or old wooden wagon near your door and fill it with a cheery mix of fall gourds, berry vines, and pumpkins. Then, use paint, permanent marker, or sticker letters to decorate the pumpkins with a friendly fall welcome.

Faux Bois pumpkin. Project: Martha Stewart Living
Faux Bois Pumpkin: The Martha Stewart Living creative crew gave this pumpkin a cool, unexpected twist. They used what they call a carve-by-color technique, which is scraping away the skin and sawing holes in strategic spots to create a pumpkin that looks richly textured and multi-tonal. The faux bois design is done freehand. Improvise to create much of the wood-grain pattern. They offer knot templates to help get you started. Scrape the design with a linoleum cutter and then make free-form lines to fill in the design. Make the eye of each knot by piercing the pumpkin wall with a ceramic hole cutter, apple corer, drill or knife.

Modern Swirly Pumpkin from

Modern Swirly Pumpkin: HGTV created this pumpkin with silicone and paint. Very elegant. Check out the how-to photos here.

Project from Better Homes & Gardens

Pumpkin Flames: Better Homes & Gardens came up with this idea and they provide a template for the flame design. Enlarge the flame-shape stencil to suit the sizes of your pumpkins. If you want every pumpkin to have a different look, use the stencil as inspiration for creating your own flame designs. Gut and carve pumpkins, leaving the stems in place. Create a log surround then stack the largest carved pumpkins on the bottom, and work your way up with progressively smaller specimens. Light real votive candles or flickering LED votives in the pumpkins to create the flicker of flames.

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