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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Pumpkins and Pansies

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Every region of the world has its own colors for fall. 
Europe and northern woodlands of North America are renowned for their 
spectacular brilliant reds, yellows, and golds. 

The colors of fall woodlands in the South are much more muted, 
yet are still subdued reminders of the changing seasons. 

So, how do we Southern decorators introduce fall into our homes 
given the limited range of intense colors in our foliage?  
From where do the colors of a Southern fall come in the American South? 

Seasonal produce and flowers in our region give us the 
splashes of color that signal our fall, signaling short days and 
cooler weather, but also promising festive holidays ahead.  

Local farmer's markets, nurseries, and groceries stock 
pumpkins, gourds, and winter squashes in varied shapes, 
textures, and colors from which we create our fall vignettes. 

Can Thanksgiving be far behind? 

The Greenery, my favorite nursery near my mom's house, 
is the place to go for inspiration. 

The Greenery can be counted on to offer unusual shaped fall produce 
and greenhouses filled with pansies, 
a traditional flower for Southern fall and winter gardens. 
Pansies love cool weather and emerge from freezes and snowfalls all winter, 
their cheery faces brightening the dreariest winter day. 

Pumpkins and pansies, with a few angel wing gourds, fill 
my mom's large white stoneware bowl that her mother gave her many years ago. 

Anyone can recreate a similar quick and easy table vignette. 

Begin this easy arrangement with two six-pack starter pansy flats in 
multi-colored pastel colors that complement the produce. 
By leaving the pansies in their starter packs, 
it will be easy to keep the pansies watered. 

Lay the small pumpkins, gourds, and squashes around the pansy packs. 

Choose produce with a variety of shapes and textures, 
but limit the colors of the produce to two or three colors. 
I used white, yellow, and green produce. 

Stagger placement of the produce so that the pansies' plastic containers are hidden. 

For smaller bowls, use two 4-inch pansy starter pots 
instead of the six-pack starter flats. 

The key is to place the pansy pots first, then add the small gourds, 
squashes, and pumpkins around the pansies so that the pots are hidden. 

Pumpkins with quirky stems make more interesting arrangements, 
don't you think? 

Circular bowls allow an arrangement to be enjoyed from all sides. 

Another tip for more interesting arrangements is to vary the direction 
the small pumpkins and gourds are placed. 
See how the bottom striped pumpkin leans in and 
the two pumpkins on top of it are propped against each other, 
but leaning opposite directions? 
The small white angel wing gourd leans against the 
small white pumpkin with their two stems facing each other. 

A final tip is to position the flowers so that some blossoms 
lean over the produce which integrates the flowers and the produce.  

Pumpkins and pansies are both traditional fall items in the South, 
but selection of colors gives a new twist to this old favorite combination. 

Want to see more twists on fall colors? 
 Not Your Usual Fall Colors combines mauves, greens, and blues. 

What colors does your region use? 
Please join me at these inspiring sites...




  1. Good morning dear Judith! I have to say that our fall this year in Minneapolis was the most spectacular I've ever seen here....very much like our falls in Boston where we lived and went to school for 11 years. But your fall has its own elements specific to the season, and these gorgeous gourds are SO LOVELY! I am seeing pinks? And this year too, I've seen these fabulous pumpkins here in pinks, blues, golds and other interesting colors! This really is a treat of a transformation, and I can sense a CHANGE in me as I get older. I appreciate the changes more, and I see more.

    Enjoy a day of planning, dreaming, creating! Anita

  2. Hello dear Judith! Your pumpkins and pansies are simply beautiful! And I find it interesting that they are traditional Fall items in the South :)

    Thank you for sharing your loveliness with us. Happy Tuesday to you!

  3. I love all of the unusual pumpkins and gourds. Our pumpkin patch closed and I didn't buy any before Halloween. Of course...there are still some in the grocery stores. People here in FL don't decorate for Fall much. I guess because the weather's still so mild. Enjoy your week! Hugs!

  4. Judith, such a great idea and step by step tutorial! Your arrangement looks like a watercolor! I have a bowl that I think will work and I have some violas. If I don't have enough I will get a few more. Thank you for sharing this! What a pretty post.

  5. Wow, those colors just pop off the page! You have such a lovely arrangement! Our yard is covered with brightly covered leaves (that will shortly turn to brown) so I stick to muted white pumpkins in the house. It's also a great way to calm the palate between the bright hues of summer and the crimson tones of Christmas. Of course, if those pretty pansies were available here, I would certainly add the color to my own kitchen table!

  6. Beautiful, Judith! I've got pansy plants planted in the garden and viola plants too. Love their sweet faces. I mixed in ornamental cabbage and kale and dusty miller. I added a few gourds and pumpkins to the mix in the pots. Now if the squirrels will just stay away. ;-)

  7. I just love your pansies! So cheerful. I had surgery today and am going to be laid up for awhile. Reading blogs I'm sure!

  8. Judith, this is so beautiful. Pansies and Pumpkins are together for decoration is a brilliant idea. Never would have thought of that! Thank you for your good advice!
    Have a happy time and all my best from Austria


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