Updated: Mar 9
For our Fall Flower Workshop we had two sessions with about 20 lovely ladies who joined us for bubbly, pumpkins, and flowers. During the workshop we detailed best practices for harvesting and maintaining the freshest flowers (and pumpkins) for arrangements, and the basics of floral design. We had our first frost just three days after the workshop so I gave participants free rein of the cutting beds and they made fantastic use of it: their arrangements were stunning and each one unique to the designer. Read on (or at least scroll to the bottom for all the gorgeous workshop pics!) for all the tips & tricks and how to design your very own pumpkin floral arrangement.
You will first want to source your pumpkin, may I suggest visiting a local pumpkin patch and cutting your own? You'll be supporting a local farmer and sourcing the freshest pumpkin possible! We grow our own pumpkins here at Petals By Pedal (truth be told, they are my favorite thing to grow!) Here you can read my blog post about al the varieties we grow each year and what we do with them! If you cut your own pumpkin try to leave it in a sunny, warm, and dry spot for a few days to allow it to cure. In this photo you can see some of the rouge vif d'etampe (Cinderella) and Jarrahdale pumpkins we grew this year curing in the strong Colorado sun.
You will need to line your pumpkin with a water tight container to avoid leaking onto furniture or speeding up how quickly your pumpkin rots. To achieve the suggest fit for your liner vessel, mark the widest part of the vessel on the pumpkins and use this as your curling guide. While fantasy and heirloom pumpkins make beautiful vases, their skin is incredibly hard and the flesh terribly dense. I you do want to use this type of pumpkin I suggest kind of hacking the design and affixing floral foam directly on top of the uncut pumpkin with floral tape and designing that way. Because of the difficulty in using heirloom pumpkins, for the workshop we used simple jack o'lantern pumpkins. We measured the opening needed to snuggly fit our liner container (we used plastic containers available in the bulk buy section of any grocery shop, maison jars also work rather well.
Scooping pumpkins is SO much easier with a large serrated spoon, luckily this time of year you easily find these as grocery stores, target, or online at Amazon. Once our pumpkin was fully scooped out (don't forget to save the seeds for roasting!) I rinsed each pumpkin with a mild bleach solution, I then sprayed the inside of the pumpkins with a mixture 1:8 parts water and bleach and left the pumpkins open to dry for a few hours. All of this was done for our lucky workshop participants prior to their arrival so they could just jump into the fun flower part!
You can either design your pumpkin using floral foam, which will give you the most versatility for placing stems or you can forgo the foam. Floral foam is not biodegradable, however, so if you want a greener option you can create a grid using floral tape over the top of your container. (see photo below). I you choose to use floral foam soak it in water until it is saturated before beginning to design. When your arrangement dies you can dry it out, flip it over and get at least two uses out of it, you an also add it to the bottom of potted plants when it becomes too full of holes for design work. In the bottom of the pot it will act as a soil lightener and moisture retainer. When fitting your floral foam into your liner vessel, leave one to two inches protruding above the edge, this will give you extra surface area to design with and help achieve a round or over flowing design.
Here is an example of how your grid might work if you choose to use floral tape instead of foam. You will have to be more precise with your stem placement but your arrangement will be more echo-friendly.
Look how stunningly different they all turned out!