Summer zipped by so fast I was not prepared to put my garden to bed yet, especially not the “Nest”. If you are new to my blog, the Nest is a circular raised garden bed from Sproutbox Garden. It is so unique and I love the curvy design. I had to come up with a great way to show off this raised garden bed to get more time out of it before the cooler temperatures arrived.
Most people just clean up their raised garden beds in fall or perhaps plant a fall vegetable garden. I wanted something colorful to challenge the fall trees in their spectacular colors for the crown of most beautiful! I researched raised garden bed ideas but nothing was sparking my attention.
What could I do?
For my summer garden, because this area is in full sun, I grew sunflowers, rudbeckia, and pumpkins in the Nest. By early fall, the sunflowers had become a jungle gym and source of food for birds and chipmunks. I kept them because they still had a beautiful form and added height to the flower beds. The pumpkins had finished growing so I stripped away the vines as leaf mold was forming. With all the pumpkins out in one area, I studied my harvest. It was very successful! I had a wide variety of colorful pumpkins from white’ish yellow to deep red and everything in between.
What could I do that would be different and worthy of this unique raised flower bed design? I am always looking for a new twist on traditional garden designs. Then it hit me, this would be a great time to display my harvest of pumpkins with colorful mums and ornamental kale! What a good idea!
Pumpkins are common on porches but you never see them displayed like flowers in a flower garden.
They are colorful and come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so why not use them like a flower? The decision was final – I was going to create a fall pumpkin garden!
First, let me tell you about the Nest
I have a whole post regarding the materials and construction of Sproutbox Garden raised beds – just click this link to learn more about the diy garden beds. The Nest is 17″ tall with an 11′ wide internal opening and 16′ in diameter. It is made of Aluzinc Steel, stainless steel hardware and commercial grade rubber edging.
Raised flower beds made from steel are better than wooden frame ones because they last longer, are easier to clean and rodents cannot climb them to destroy your garden. Being raised is also very attractive to me over in-ground garden beds because they are easier on my back!
The size of the circle is perfect for placing a table and chairs, a firepit or cozy seating. The circular design of the Nest makes you feel secure as if you are wrapped up in your garden.
When the sunflowers were towering above, it felt like I was in my own secret garden.
It was wonderful!
If you do decide to purchase something through Sproutbox Garden, be sure to use my special discount code “SVA10”!
Disclaimer: Sproutbox Garden gifted me with these raised garden beds. They have not paid me for this post and my opinions expressed here are my own.
Ok, let’s get going with the new garden.
Clean up time
First things that needed to be done was to clean up the garden beds and come up with a plan. With the pumpkin vines gone, I started cleaning up all the plants that would stay in my new fall garden. The rudbeckia had some dead spots but it was still blooming nicely and it’s color would be perfect for fall.
Next I trimmed off all unattractive leaves off of the sunflowers and removed any sunflowers that had completely dried up.
I raked out the garden soil so that it was smooth again and free of any dead vines or leaves. Once it was spic and span, I had to come up with a plan. Mixing all the colors of the pumpkins together was an option, but I felt that would give me a headache. I am more of a symmetry and neutral lover so an explosion of scattered color would not do.
After much consideration, I opted to keep the colors of pumpkins together and match them up with mums to create something more soothing to the eye.
Laying out the pumpkins
The Cinderella rouge pumpkins needed to take center stage so I laid them out at the front of the Nest. They are named Cinderella because of their flattened shape and rouge is French for red. I quickly found that their flattened shape made them perfect for stacking and creating topiaries.
Beside them I placed the faded peach-colored Atlantic giant pumpkins. Atlantic giant pumpkins can grow to 500 lbs. While mine did get pretty big and are super heavy, they did not reach their full potential because they were planted too late. That’s ok, because if they had gotten bigger I would not have been able to move them on my own.
Curving around to the back, I mixed the white’ish warty pumpkins with the few pink pumpkins I had.
In the end, what I created was a circle pattern with the brightest, deepest colored pumpkins, fading to the lightest colored pumpkins.
Phew – I had a design that didn’t make my brain sweat with anxiety!!!
With the pumpkins laid out in a good-looking design, it was time to find different types of mums and other new plants. Typically, Costco carries large colorful mums but this year, they had very few and only in pink. The selection was poor at the nurseries but the good news is I found mums in soft orange, rust, yellow and white.
Once again, I chose a color blocking method and placed the mums in groupings according to their color.
Next, I determined which color of mum would work the best with each color of pumpkin.
Yellow and the rusty colored mums would look best with the Cinderella rouge pumpkins.
White mums were the only ones that worked with the soft orange Atlantic Giant pumpkins.
Pink mums were perfect with the white and soft pink pumpkins.
With a few spaces needing color and it being the end of the growing season, I knew it would be hard to find healthy plants. I was in luck though and found the prettiest colorful pansies and lush ornamental kale. I popped those in here and there and my garden was complete.
Time to enjoy!
This was one of the easiest ways to refresh raised garden beds and is perfect for a beginner gardener.
We brought up the portable firepit, set up some chairs and enjoyed the crisp fall evening. An option for seating would be a straw bale or two. A great resource for straw bales is a local farm, or a local feed store for horses.
We all had such a good time. The best thing about it was that my family loved how I incorporated my pumpkin harvest into the planters. It is the best way to display them as they are raised so you get a better view of them. The stillness of the evening, the colors of the sky and the pretty garden surrounding us was just perfect. It was an excellent way to spend the evening.
Thank you for reading until the end. I hope you enjoyed this post and that you are inspired to create a fall flower and pumpkin garden!