Every year, when the trees begin to change colour, New West’s Uptown Florist gets busy carving pumpkins. Nope, not to make Jack-o'-lanterns, but to make round orange vases.
It’s part of a holiday tradition, said Christine Wong of Uptown Florist, who has made decorative pumpkins ever since she was a kid. “It makes for a beautiful centrepiece,” she added.
The festive centrepieces are bestsellers at the company between October and November.
Even now, if you plan to perk up your living room with a pumpkin full of flowers for the holiday season, you can — either by placing a custom order at Uptown Florist, or by making one yourself at home.
If choosing the second option, here are a few things to keep in mind before you stab the pumpkin.
Decide on the size of pumpkin
Whether you want a pumpkin that sits snugly on your centre table, or a massive one that one could sit inside and float in, is your choice.
However, remember that the small pumpkins are meant more for cooking, and the big firm ones for Halloween displays, as mentioned in Canada Food Focus.
According to Wong, you don't have to restrict yourself to a pumpkin. “You can use any type of squash to get a different look," she said. "But some are harder to cut into than others. So you have to be careful what you pick,” she warned.
No matter what you choose, make sure it's a well-rounded one with no cracks.
Carve it out
How much you want to take out of the pumpkin depends on how many flowers you want to fill it with.
“Some people will just use the bottom half, or two-thirds," said Wong. "And some people will just kind of cut around the stem part. So it looks more like a vase with a smaller opening."
Either of those options are fine — it's just that "the bigger the opening, the more you need to fill it,” she said.
Carve out the pumpkin just as you would a Jack-o'-lantern. If you have your saw and scoop from the Halloween season, get them out and start working.
Make sure it can hold water
While it’s okay to pour water in it directly, Wong said a layer of arranging foam on the inside will make sure the pumpkin doesn’t get wet.
Alternatively, you can also insert a container, like a disposable cup (as shown in Happy Haute Home) through the opening of the pumpkin to hold water — especially if there are carvings along the body of the gourd.
A safe way to add some oomph to the vase is by etching designs on the pumpkin surface (the etched areas appear a bright yellow) using a gouge.
Choose the flowers
“Usually with pumpkins, you'll do a fall theme, so you'll kind of choose fall or Halloween colours,” said Wong.
When it comes to choosing flowers, Wong said that Uptown Florist usually goes by the colours and not so much as what's in season.
The business' Autumnal Glory bouquet includes seasonal roses and lilies, and its Warm and Wonderful centrepiece is made with bright orange lilies and red alstroemeria among other flowers.
For a Halloween theme, Wong added "a little bit of purple and some blues to the arrangement, and then some sticks and little trick-or-treat symbols.”
Prepare for its short life
The lifespan of a pumpkin vase is about a week. “But if you have got it inside a warm house, it's less,” said Wong. “We always suggest you put a plate or something underneath because they look great all the way, and then all of a sudden they're like mush."
"Sometimes, there's no warning,” she said.
Uptown Florist is located at 712 6th St.