(Editors note: It’s a wonderful time of walk around neighborhoods and see, on many a front porch, a beautiful pumpkin topiary or fall flower planter. We thought we’d see what garden artisan Nancy Wallace is up to in her home state of Georgia — she’s based in Suwanee, about a 40-minute drive front Atlanta. Here’s what she’s up to. Take it away, Nancy!)
There are so many pumpkin and gourd varieties available from the farmers market or local garden centers.
I started playing around with the idea of “pumpkin topiaries” a couple of years ago.
I was inspired by another garden designer (Helen Weis of Unique by Design) who first introduced me to the idea of pumpkin stacking or “pumpkin cakes.”
The Pumpkin Topiary: Two Ideas
I used grapevine wreaths or boxwood wreaths between the pumpkins, along with some seasonal greenery. For the topiary base, I used a footed urn filled to the brim with dirt and topped with moss before stacking the pumpkins. The weight of the pumpkins keeps them in place.
I put these on my clients’ porches late September to early October, and they last through the Thanksgiving weekend, before being whisked away for the next round of holidays. Imagine placing one of these by the front door to greet guests for Thanksgiving dinner!
The Pumpkin Topiary on Porches
Every fall, I assemble an assortment of pumpkins and seasonal materials for several of my clients’ porches for autumn displays. I call this: “Pumpkins on Porches.”
Along with a combination of pumpkins and gourds, I use Chinese Lantern plants, Chrysanthemums, Crotons, Ornamental Peppers, Euphorbia, and Celosia (to name but a few). Add a few dried and artificial accents, and you’ve got a pretty porch for the fall.
Below (left) is the Chinese Lantern Plant (Physalis), which has bright orange lanterns that persist through November. To the right below are Heuchera, Croton, Chrysanthemum, and Ornamental Peppers on a pumpkin porch.
Here are two more pumpkin topiary ideas. On the left (below) are Ornamental Peppers are tucked in front of a late summer container garden (Begonias & Dichondra), for a dramatic burst of color by the front door. On the right is a “Pumpkins on Porches” seasonal greeting to your guests when they arrive.
The Pumpkin Topiary: More Ideas
In the picture below, on the left, is a pumpkin topiary of sorts for a curved stair case — we tumbled pumpkins and plants all the way down the front steps. It’s a life-sized cornucopia!
And, to the right (below), we filled a front door planter with pumpkins and dried materials.
Here’s another pumpkin topiary idea. In the picture below, on the left, is a seasonal window box we filled with Euphorbia (center) and flanked with Celosia on either side. Peppers, Pansies and Chrysanthemums acted as fillers. To the right, below, are a few pumpkins are added to complete the arrangement.
While it’s not a pumpkin topiary, here Celosia ‘Twisted’ becomes the center piece in this early autumn container garden. Marigolds, Lantanta, and Ornamental Peppers are used as fillers and spillers. On the left, below, is the whole planter. On the right is a closeup of the flowers.
Pumpkin Idea: Made for Shade
The next two photos are not of a pumpkin topiary, but of a container garden and pumpkin arrangement for a shaded porch.
We don’t often “think pink” for autumn arrangements, but (below left) this pink Anemone — a perennial — blooms in September and October, so I used its airy flowers for the center piece of this container garden. Dusy Miller, a few ferns, Cyclamen, and Asiatic Jasmine surround the pink Anemones. Dried lotus pods add architectural interest. I added a pot of lavender mums and some green and white pumpkins to complete this pumpkin topiary porch.
Below right is a closeup of the centerpiece: Anemone hupehensis ‘Pretty Lady Diana’ (windflower) was the inspiration for this shady container garden.
About the Author:
Nancy Wallace is a horticulturist and garden artisan based in Georgia. Check out her gorgeous garden photos on her Instagram profile. You can follow her there, as well as on her Tumblr site, on Twitter, and her Facebook page!