November brings Thanksgiving and time for pumpkins. All around us there are pumpkin displays, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin pastries, and pumpkin pies. Although I am not a fan of pumpkin latte, I am totally entranced with the magical pumpkin interpretations of the artist Yayoi Kusama whose work was showcased at the New York Botanical Garden. Kusama says “it seems that pumpkins do not inspire much respect, but I was enchanted by their charming and winsome form.” This description was displayed by her animated yellow and black polka dotted, curvaceous, dancing pumpkin form.

Kusama loves dots, polka dots, and more dots. On a later trip to the NYBG I took a class with Joshua Werber who used this glowing pumpkin from the conservatory to inspire a floral design with bespeckled plant materials with dotted, textural forms. Rose hips, baby’s breath ranunculus, and dahlias filled vases. More dots repeated the Kusama patterns on the vase.


The pumpkin is in the curcubita family which includes pumpkins, gourds, zucchini, and squash. A wide variety of pumpkins are now available in a myriad of colors and textures. Above you see a cascading staircase display of pumpkins and gourds at the NYBG. Notice the Kusama polka dot motif on the building entrance above.

Designing with Pumpkins

A garland of greens and fall leaves is enhanced with tubed chrysanthemums, staked mini pumpkins and purple onions.

Mini pumpkins may be used as accessories add to the autumn feeling in arrangements with fall colors. The shiny surface of a pumpkin is good textural contrast to feathery grasses and autumn foliage.

A blue doll pumpkin shows off brilliant stewartia foliage and orange ilex berries with a mix of lavender and bronze flowers. If you don’t want to carve out your pumpkin for an arrangement, you may place eco-foam or floral foam on top of the pumpkin.

Soon the cooler temperatures will bring us winter inspiration but for now enjoy the brilliant fall colors and exotic shapes of pumpkins and gourds. Happy Thanksgiving!