Homespun: Mum’s the word, Celebrate fall’s bounty with pumpkin planters
Pumpkin-potted mums combine the golden and orange hues of autumn for a seasonal craft project. Use chalkboard paint to write a message on the pumpkin. | Photos by Kelli Wefenstette
Pumpkin PlanterMaterials needed:
Sharp knife or carving kit
Newspaper or cardboard, to work on
Chalkboard paint, spray paint or can and foam brush (optional)
1. Spread newspaper or cardboard across your work surface and place the pumpkin in the center.
2. Use a marker to draw a wide opening around the pumpkin’s stem.
3. Cut through the pumpkin using your marked circle. Remove the stem and cap.
4. Scrape away all seeds from the cap and the interior of your pumpkin by hand or with a spoon.
5. Line the interior of the pumpkin with a layer of potting soil.
6. Loosen the potted plant from its plastic base and place it inside the pumpkin.
7. Fill the remainder of the pumpkin with potting soil, patting it gently yet firmly into place.
8. Water your plant as instructed.
9. For an extra treat, paint a swatch of the pumpkin with chalkboard paint and let dry completely.
10. Once dried, roll a piece of chalk across the painted surface and wipe the dust away.
11. Write a special message for your friends and family to see.
Decorate your table or your front steps with your newly potted plant, taking a moment to give thanks for this celebration of season — of traditions and family, of harvest and feast, of tucking in tight to home in preparation for winter.
Updated: November 7, 2012 10:17AM
As the bright red, yellow and orange of October settles over the city and leaves litter streets and sidewalks, memories of family traditions draw near.
The autumns of my youth were marked by the beginnings of school years, Friday night football games and our annual homecoming parade. In the week leading up to Halloween, my family would spread newspaper across our wooden front porch, tape patterns upon our big, round pumpkins and carve spooky faces into our jack-o’-lanterns, squealing with delight as pumpkin seeds squished through our fingers. Upon perfecting their toothy grins, we’d plunk a single tea light candle into the center of each and cheer as they cast an eerie glow into the darkness.
I’ve grown past the high school rituals of my hometown, but now I move into my own traditions and seasonal markers. The change in season brings for me a settling into home, a seasonal cleaning of windows and linens, blankets thrown across every chair and couch for quick warmth when the temperatures suddenly drop. Many mornings are spent at the kitchen sink coring tomatoes and turning the harvests into sauce and juice and jam. Canning jars are retrieved from the cupboards to be filled with summer’s bounty.
Bunches of basil line our dining room table, sacks overflow with hot peppers, and green tomatoes stretch out on every available windowsill. I plan these yearly rituals to identify the passage of time and the sacredness of the season.
As we ponder the traditions we hold most dear, I invite you to join me in a simple seasonal craft. Today I am sharing the instructions for pumpkin-potted mums, a sophisticated alternative to carving. Set upon a burlap table runner or amidst a handful of gathered leaves, these pumpkin-potted mums are sure to be the center of any autumnal feast.
A quick jaunt to your local grocery store or a weekend outing to a pumpkin patch will yield the pumpkins and plants needed for this project. Look for pumpkins that have a broad base and will sit easily upon a flat surface to host a cheery flowering plant.