Monday, 31 October 2016

Smashing Pumpkin Floral Display

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

With Halloween upon us I thought I'd share with you a little tutorial on how to make a pumpkin floral arrangement. After all not everyone wants a Jack O Lantern with a gruesome face on it. This design could be used throughout Autumn and for Thanksgiving/Harvest Festival if you're so inclined to celebrate those. 

I've put this together in mind that the average person does not have florist equipment like Oasis to hand. I wanted to make something that anyone would do providing they had a pumpkin and some flowers.

I bought my pumpkin in Asda yesterday for £1.00 and two bunches of seasonally coloured flowers for less than £5.00. (I had enough flowers left over to do a small vase full!) Of course if you have flowers in your garden you can use those. In fact all the greenery was cut from my garden. You will also need an empty plastic drinks bottle or similar. Failing that a suitably sized jam jar. 

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin
Blood red Chrysanthemums and some autumn coloured 'Pinks'.

First up get a sharp kitchen knife and cut a square around the top of the pumpkin stalk. I deliberately didn't slice off the top of the pumpkin like you would to carve for a lantern as I wanted more control over the aperture cut into the pumpkin. I chose a square because I think it's easier to cut, rather than trying to be too precise with a round cut at this stage.

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

Next you need to scrape out all the seeds and gunk inside. A pyscho style knife and all those pumpkin entrails and I was already in the halloween mood!

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

When you've scooped out as much as possible and cleaned and dried it out. Place your drinks bottle on top of the hole you've cut and carefully carve away until you can push the drinks bottle inside the pumpkin all the way to the bottom. Don't carve out too much as you want the drinks bottle to sit snuggly inside the pumpkin to hold it in place.  You don't want it to wobble about too much. 

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

Next use a black marker to drawer a line around the drinks bottle just above where it comes out of the pumpkin.  You're going to cut just below this line you've marked. Don't worry about getting it too level. The chances are your pumpkin isn't that level either. That's why I recommend drawing around the top of the bottle rather than trying to measure and calculate the exact height it needs to be. You won't be seeing the top of the pumpkin once you flowers are in place. Don't cut too low or you drinks bottle might tip over into the inside of the pumpkin. The drinks bottle bottom is going to be the water reservoir for the flowers. 

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

I got a bit carried away at the next stage and forgot to take any pictures until it was finished. It's really easy though!   

Fill the drinks bottle bottom inside the pumpkin with water. Don't fill quite to the top. Leave about half and inch to avoid water spillage into the pumpkin. I added a sachet of plant food that came with some of my flowers. 

Next get some of focus flowers - in my case the blood red chrystanth's and cut them down so they stick up above the height of the pumpkin by about a third to a half of the height of the pumpkin I used two stems as they were quite bushy.  If it helps you can stand a stem next to the pumpkin and work out where you need to trim from there. Remember you can cut more off, but not stick it back on if you've cut off too much. Strip off any leaves that are going to sit in the water. (If you leave them on they'll go mouldy and taint the water, shortening the life of the flowers).  You'll notice when you first place the flowers they'll lean to one side. This is because you have nothing to support them yet. 

Next I had a wander around my garden (if you haven't got one maybe you forage locally for some suitable greenery) looking for foliage. I deliberately don't over trim my evergreens at this time of year so I can use them to bulk out flower arrangements. I chose a golden variegated Euonymus. (You can just see the corner of the shrub in question on the left hand side of the picture with the bottle sat on top of the pumpkin.) I cut about half a dozen stems of Euonymus longer than I'd needed, so I could cut them down to exactly the size I wanted and get a good supporting shape. It's good to choose something quite firm and bushy so they support the more delicate flowers. You may have to put stems in place and then remove and trim again until you get them just as you like. Again strip off any leaves that will sit in the water. 

Remember when you're placing anything that if you're using this as a table display it will be seen from all sides so you want to keep turning the pumpkin and making sure everything looks balanced. Step back and see where you need to add in more bits or take bits away. 

I took the Pinks next and cut them down so I could infill them among the greenery to add some interest and break up the 'hedge' it was creating around the top of the pumpkin. You'll notice the more you add the more support everything gets. 

I still felt it needed something else so had a walk around my garden and spotted some trails of winter flowering jasmine that were starting to turn slightly autumnal colours. I snipped off about four of these and because the arrangement was quite dense now it was easy to support them among what was already in place. They are quite curvy and whispy and I thought they'd give a different texture and stop everything looking like a dome at the top of the pumpkin.  I popped a couple of stray mini stems of the chrystanthemums that had fell off when I was cutting down the larger stems around the greenery too. 

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

I had a woodpecker watching my making. I think it approved of the final display.  Any questions please ask! And if you do make one I'd love to see your versions.

Autumn Floral Display in a Pumpkin

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