harvest table
Brian Francis

Outside the Box

Your local nursery is not only a one-stop shop for plants and bulbs, but it also offers unique containers and seasonal bounty. Here, the pumpkins’ rich colors and simple shapes inspired a harvest centerpiece that is perfect for Thanksgiving.

harvest placesetting
Brian Francis

What You'll Need

• 1 wide planter
• 2 pumpkins (in graduating sizes)
• bag of Spanish moss
• 2 small terra-cotta pots
• Potting soil
• 2 (4-inch) pots of herbs
• 6 to 10 miniature pumpkins
• Acorns or leaves
• Wooden dowel
• Styrofoam or florist’s foam (optional)
• Paring knife or drill

pumpkin topiary
Brian Francis

Stack It

A two-tiered topiary -- set in a hefty vessel -- is the focal point of the centerpiece. Low, squatty pumpkins are best for stacking, although any shape will work for the top.

Tip: Look for pumpkins to be on sale just before or after Halloween. If kept in a cool, dry place, they should last through November. And be sure to check for signs of rot before purchasing.

pumpkin topiary
Brian Francis

Assemble Your Topiary

Step 1: Choose pumpkins of varying sizes and colors. (We used two pumpkins; more can be added for height.) Select a container that is wide enough for the largest pumpkin to rest in. If needed, a block of Styrofoam or florist’s foam can be added to stabilize the bottom pumpkin.

Step 2: Measure and cut a wooden dowel so that it is long enough to connect the pumpkins. Using a sharp knife, cut out the stem of the largest pumpkin, and then insert the dowel.

Tip: For best results, assemble the topiary the day before your big meal. (Because the pumpkin pulp is not removed, the topiary has a shorter life span.)

pumpkin topiary
Brian Francis

Assembly, Continued

Step 3: Using a paring knife or drill, cut a small hole in the bottom of the smaller pumpkin, and place it on top of the larger pumpkin (fitting the dowel in the hole). Fill in the gaps between the pumpkins with moss.

thyme in terra cotta pot
Brian Francis

All in the Details

Picking up the colors of the pumpkins, small terra-cotta pots are filled with silver thyme (a slightly aromatic herb that will hint at the meal to come) and placed on either side of the topiary.

Miniature white Baby Boo pumpkins and acorns from the backyard are scattered along the table. Contributing an element of texture, a hemp table runner finishes off the natural display.

harvest placesetting
Brian Francis

Set the Table

Organically shaped dishes complement the rustic feel of the centerpiece, and the napkins add a pop of color to the neutral place settings.

Varying shades of orange (in the napkins, table runner, container edges, and pumpkin) work together to create an autumnal scene.

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