At night the Harvest Moon hangs low in the sky, the perfect backdrop for screeching black cats and broomstick-riding witches. Yep, Halloween is creeping up fast, and Mother Nature is doing her part to create the proper atmosphere! Soon, ghosts and goblins, ballerinas and super heroes, and dinosaurs and princesses will wander zombie-like along neighborhood streets, weighted down by plastic pumpkins stuffed with goodies, crying “Trick or Treat” as they ring every doorbell.
In anticipation of America’s spookiest holiday, pumpkins are already starting to sprout on porch steps, their bright orange faces awaiting the carving knife. Days are still a little too warm to ensure that gutted pumpkins will resist the urge to wither and rot before Halloween; but with a little ingenuity and some help from your garden, you can create a jolly jack-o-lantern worthy of the season.
To create a floral jack-o-lantern, select flowers from your fall garden or pick up a few pots from your local garden center. You’ll need different flowers to use as eyes, nose, mouth and hair (see suggestions below). Use a pointed skewer, nut pick or screwdriver to poke holes into the pumpkin, one hole for each flower. Each hole should be the diameter of the flower stem it will accommodate and be deep enough to reach into the airy center of the pumpkin. Trim flower stems to about 3 inches and carefully poke into holes. Add a hat or hair made of fall leaves, fern fronds, ivy, grasses or hydrangea blooms. Be creative and have fun! Replace flowers as they fade. If desired, just before Halloween, remove flowers and carve pumpkin.
Suggested flowers. Use large single flowers or rows of smaller flowers. Use pins to spread and hold in place, supple flowers like lilies.