Many of the colors of autumn that we use to adorn our homes can easily be grown in the home garden. Bonus: You get to decide what they are, and you can have the most unique display!
Pumpkins are one of the first things to come to mind. If you don’t intend to eat them, choose a variety such as ‘Tom Fox’ or ‘Racer’, hybrids bred especially to be carved as jack-o-lanterns. Smaller pumpkins such as ‘Wee-B-Little’, ‘Carnival’ and ‘Jack Be Little’ produce more fruit in a shorter time, which can add wonderfully to your overall theme.
While you at it, there are some adorable white pumpkins available, something you’re less likely to find at the market. ‘Moonshine’ and ‘Snowball’ are two good examples. Of course, growing an assortment of decorative gourds is easy to do. Plant them near a fence and they will grow up it, automatically decorating as they produce.
For fall flowers, consider ‘Persian Carpet’ zinnias. These zinnias produce double and semi-double blooms in typical autumn colors of yellow, red and orange. Since they are easily grown in a container, they can be brought indoors if frost threatens and kept going through the holiday season. Grow some strawflowers as well, since they last almost forever when they are dry.
One of our favorite things to grow for fall decorating is corn. If you have the room, beautiful varieties such as ‘Glass Gem Corn’, shown, will make your display very unique. The colors of this variety are so stunning it is hard to believe they are real. This variety is somewhat hard to get as it is still in great demand, it would almost impossible to find it for sale. If space is limited, you can try a smaller variety such as 'Strawberry Popcorn', which can be grown in 26-inch pots. We are going to plant these on either side of our front porch steps. This way the decorating will be right where we want it come fall.
There is another bonus here, as well. ‘Strawberry Popcorn’ gets its name from the fact that the kernels can be popped and eaten. What fun to do on a chilly autumn evening with the kids and grandkids!
Gardening Jones is a Pennsylvania-based master gardener.Read her other Horticulture posts hereandlearn more at gardeningjones.com/.
The Children's Garden Seed Collection includes five packets of easy-to-sow and -grow seeds, including 'Cinderella's Carriage' pumpkins and 'Sunzilla' sunflowers for late summer and autumn color.
Get advice for growing pumpkins, corn, gourds and much more in The Veggie Gardener's Answer Book.
Need more space to grow everything on your wish list? Try the proven techniques in Mel Bartholomew's All New Square Foot Gardening.