Monday, October 31, 2016

In a Vase on Monday: Seasonal Succulents

Happy Halloween!



In keeping with the holiday, I thought I'd decorate a pumpkin this week and, as I haven't used succulents in an "In a Vase on Monday" post this year, it was high time to do so.  My inspiration stemmed from the photos of succulent-topped pumpkins I've seen on-line and, more recently, on a visit to one of my favorite garden centers.

One of the succulent-topped pumpkins that provided inspiration for this week's "vase"


After viewing a couple of how-to videos on pumpkin decorating, I decided to give it a try.  I picked up a fancy pumpkin at the supermarket and, as I wasn't about to venture into a craft store so close to Halloween (too scary!), I made do with the craft supplies the supermarket offered, a tacky spray and a glue pen.  I already had sphagnum moss on hand.

With a chance of rain on Sunday (Halloween is about tricks as well as treats), I went to work on this project on Saturday so I could keep my mess outside.  I started by collecting succulent cuttings from my garden.



The succulents were dusty and dirty so I positioned them on a pair of plastic chairs and hosed them off before I began working with them.

As with the vases I create using flowers, I cut much more than I needed


Then the pumpkin came out.

I'm sure this pumpkin has a name but the supermarket label just said "fancy pumpkin"


The moss followed.

DIY instructions recommend applying tacky spray to the top of the pumpkin followed by a one-quarter to half-inch layer of moss, creating a toupée of sorts

I then trimmed the moss to make a less sloppy toupée


I meant to take in process photos as I positioned the succulents but I got absorbed by the project, as well as getting my fingers sticky with glue, so there aren't any further in process photos.  The construction wasn't difficult, although some of the heavier succulents drooped at times and had to be re-positioned.  The experts use a hot glue gun, which apparently does a better job keeping the succulent pieces in place, but I didn't have one of those.



After cleaning up, I took photos of the completed pumpkin from 4 angles outside.

I don't have a complete inventory of the succulents I used but they include: Aeonium haworthii 'Kiwi', Crassula pubescens ssp radicans, Graptopetalum 'Darley Sunshine', Graptosedum 'California Sunset', Graptosedum 'Vera Higgins', Graptoveria 'Fred Ives', Portulacaria afra 'Variegata', and a noID Rhipsalis.  I also tucked in berries of Nandina domestica and Auranticarpa rhombifolia.

I'd forgotten to take a top-view photo of the arrangement when I was working outside so I did that after coming inside.



In about a week, after the glue has been allowed to thoroughly dry, I can mist the succulents to keep the arrangement fresh.  When the pumpkin itself begins to decay, the succulent cuttings can be removed and reused in the garden.  I've already popped the cuttings I didn't use back into the garden.

The completed pumpkin currently sits on the dining room table.



The displaced vase from last week was moved to the front entry, sans the Grevillea and poppies, which were past their prime.



The exterior entry has been dressed up for the holiday too.

You get bonus points if you can identify the flower the skeleton lounging on the bench has in his teeth



I hope you enjoy the holiday!  Visit Cathy at Rambling in the Garden to see what she and other meme participants have cooked up this week.


All material © 2012-2016 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

36 comments:

  1. Your succulent topped pumpkin is wonderful! I understand how hard it is sometimes to take in process photos when your hands are covered with soil or glue. Cameras are delicate and expensive, and don't take that abuse easily. Yours is light-years better than the one you saw at Roger's.

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    1. I was a little annoyed with myself when I realized I'd neglected the in-process photos but I really did get carried away with the crafting aspect - and the glue!

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  2. Wow! Kris. I like this. After reading the title, I was wondering about seasonal succulents, but it is the usage of them. Your pumpkin looks very nice. I am going to have to try that.

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    1. It was surprisingly easy to do, Jane, and I can't claim significant skills with crafts. It remains to be seen how it holds up over time.

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  3. Your take on the succulent filled pumpkin is terrific - I love that it's so full of subtle colour. I'm glad to see it going on your table as another friend used hers as porch decor only to have chunks chewed out of it by squirrels! I'm guessing eustoma for the mystery bloom, but can't be at all sure as I'm looking at your post on my phone, which is a mini... ;-)

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    1. You guessed the skeleton's flower correctly, Amy! The squirrels tunneled right through the large pumpkins I placed outside the front door last year (although I did get some fun photos of them poking their heads out). I placed one large pumpkin out there again this year but tucked it into a ceramic pot, which they haven't bothered (yet).

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  4. Okay I am going to be honest and say that succulent topped pumpkins are in the "just say no" category for me, as in they've been waaayyy over done. BUT, your pumpkin choice sends this in a different direction than with the usual orange guy. Plus the colors of succulents you chose and how they relate to the veining in the pumpkin, very well done Kris! Oh and bonus points for making me almost spit out my coffee at the idea of a moss toupée. Hope you have a fun Halloween!

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    1. I have to say I've resisted the pull of the decorated pumpkins for some time but seeing one for sale for $70 (!) and wanting a different approach to displaying succulent cuttings this year, I couldn't resist trying it.

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  5. Aren't you the clever one! Your pumpkin arrangement turned out beautifully, I love the veined squash and colors you chose and the berries are a nice touch.
    Your dooryard decorations are fun - had to laugh at the lounging skeleton with a Japanese anemone? in its mouth. Have a fun day!

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    1. I wanted to dress up that skeleton somehow, Eliza, but the hats and clothing I had on hand are just too big for it. Then I realized that the jaw was articulated so a flower seemed just the ticket. The flower is a small Eustoma (Lisianthus) bloom - I don't have enough Japanese anemones to spare!

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  6. The succulents are a pretty match for that pumpkin! Happy Halloween!

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    1. Thanks Shirley! Happy Halloween to you too!

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  7. Brilliant Kris; it looks like you had a lot of fun and you really achieved a great result. Love all your skeleton decorations too, I'd be pretty scared to visit your door right now.

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    1. The worst of the decorations is that skeleton cat which produces a horrible howl when a switch is on, which it won't be as we can't stand the noise. My husband pointed out that the cat and the mice aren't accurately represented as there are no bones in the ears of the real creatures - being married to a scientist can be a drag sometimes!

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  8. Great job! I love how different the colors look depending on whether they are on the green or the orange side of the pumpkin. I always thought you had to partly scoop out the top of the pumpkin, so I loved getting a lesson in how it's done. Your photos make it seem much more doable than I had imagined. Happy Halloween.

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    1. When I saw the decorated pumpkins at the garden center, I assumed they were ceramic until I touched them. I liked the idea of using pumpkins but didn't want the mess of carving them up so I was pleased to see the decorations applied to moss.

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  9. I love the pumpkin - it is an heirloom, I searched my grey one and saw that one. I would not have thought of gluing moss to a pumpkin, but it worked out beautifully. The range of succulents in your garden is remarkable. Your Ginkgo vase is lovely as well, like the fruit!

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    1. Succulents do very well here and, with the drought-related restrictions in effect, I'm using them more and more. As we're frost-free, I generally don't have to worry about them turning to mush during the winter months.

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  10. My earlier comment didn't seem to publish, Kris. I think I was saying how effective the seasonal colours were 'stuck' onto the pumpkin - and admiring the flower in the mouth of Ms Skeleton!

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    1. I'm lucky to have a range of succulents in different colors so I could play up the colors in the pumpkin. The berries were a last minute addition - I hope they last a while.

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  11. Oh, my gosh, I love how your pumpkin turned out. Makes a great centerpiece Kris!

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    1. Thanks Susie! It's not something I can see myself creating annually but it was fun as an experiment.

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  12. Brilliant Kris. The perfect seasonal 'vase'. That first photo would be enough to scare off a raccoon.

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    1. I don't think even a large bat would scare off a raccoon, Jessica. They're gutsy creatures. I chased one from the garden last week on 2 separate occasions and, even armed with a flashlight and a large stick, he didn't run off until I began whacking at the shrubs around him with the stick.

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  13. Is that a Eustoma in the skelleton's mouth? Love your succulent topped pumpkin and appreciate the tutorial links. I always wondered how they did that. Hope your halloween is full of treats and no tricks!

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    1. Yes, indeed - that is a Eustoma flower! Sadly, we get very few trick-or-treaters here. I have treats for about 10 visitors on hand but last year we had none.

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  14. What fun! I love your pumpkin Kris, and I love that skeleton too! Is it an Eustoma or an anemone between its teeth? Brilliant seasonal arrangements! ;-)

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    1. The skeleton's flower is a Eustoma, Cathy. The few Japanese anemones I had in bloom are already history, unfortunately.

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  15. I love this Kris. And how well the succulents look in the pumpkin, the colours match perfectly.
    Your skeleton looks very comfortable and relaxed and very friendly.

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    1. The lounging skeleton is definitely friendlier than the cat and mouse skeletons but all will be tucked away for another year very soon. I need to get an earlier start on my Halloween decorating next year.

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  16. Nicely done, Kris! I like your arrangements--such pretty Fall/sunset colors--and your Halloween decorations. It's pretty hard to made Halloween look "classy" :-) but I think you managed it.

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    1. Thanks Emily! Are we going to see the costume you created for your son this year?

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  17. Your 'Fancy Pumpkin' is stunning in its own right, but with the succulents it is a thing of beauty!

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    1. Thanks! I was pleased at how well it came out. I had very low expectations at the start as it don't consider myself at all crafty.

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  18. Went back and looked at this post from the link. That turned out great.

    The bat is super!

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    1. I've had that bat forever, the only Halloween decoration I've hung on to for an extended basis.

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