Halloween Decorations from the Garden

Thursday, October 16th, 2014 by Jenny Watts
    • Fragrant hyacinths make a colorful display in a garden bed, or can be grown in pots. They come in red, pink, blue and white and can be planted now.
    • Clean up the garden by raking leaves and old flower blossoms out from under your shrubs. Roses and camellias especially appreciate this.
    • Clean up water lilies by cutting off dead leaves. Leave hardy lilies in the pond and sink them down to the bottom of the pond for the winter.
    • Plant ground covers to cover slopes and large open areas. Water until the rains come, and they will fill in and cover the area next year.
    • Snapdragons make cheerful spots of color for the fall and winter garden. Plant some now for instant color.

Halloween Decorations from the Garden

Halloween is fun for kids of all ages. While you may be too old for trick-or-treating, you can enjoy decorating for Halloween. The nice thing for gardeners is that you can find many of the holiday decorations in your own back yard.

Start with pumpkins. Maybe you grew some in the garden just to carve into Jack-o’-lanterns or maybe you have to buy them this year. The best pumpkins for carving have a flattened end to prevent tipping, but any size or shape will work. A good solid handle will make it easy to open and close the Jack-o’-lantern lid if you plan to put a candle inside. When cleaning the pumpkin out, don’t forget to separate the seeds from the meat. These make a delicious snack when lightly stir-fried in oil and salted.

Did you know that pumpkins come in lots of colors? Of course there are orange ones for decorating, and tan ones which are used for pumpkin pie, but there are also bright red-orange ones, called Cinderella pumpkins, and even an Australian Blue pumpkin. You can also grow miniature pumpkins like ‘Jack-Be-Little’ and white ones like ‘Casper.’

Ornamental gourds also make nice Halloween decorations. The small ornamental gourds are easy to grow here and you can try the birdhouse or bottle gourds, and the speckled swan gourds if you have a hot, full-sun garden site. Harvest these when the stem of the fruit starts to dry, taking care not to bruise the gourd. Allow them to dry for about a week in a warm, dry place, then wax and polish them. Or use steel wool to smooth the surface for painting or staining.

Butternut squash are the perfect shape for white gourd ghosts. If you didn’t grow any this year, search out some gourds from the local markets, and decorate and craft them for the spookiest season of the year.

Tie dried cornstalks in bunches to decorate your porch or entryway or hang Indian corn from your front door. And create a garden scarecrow just for fun. You can make beautiful wreaths out of colorful leaves, dried flowers, nuts and cones. Start by making a grapevine wreath out of canes from your grapevines, then wire or glue the decorations onto it.

Decorate the front porch with a combination of pumpkins, gourds and ornamental kale, which is colorful all fall and winter.

Don’t forget backyard wildlife this Halloween! Put out extra treats for the birds and other wildlife! Save the pulp and seeds from your carved pumpkin for the birds! 

For lovers of fall foliage and the bounty of the garden harvest, decorating the yard at Halloween holds an earthy pleasure that no other holiday can match.