Just add pumpkins: a five minute autumnal entrance.

I’m hesitating as I begin writing this, because after all, who on earth needs to know that I’m plonking a load of random pots on my windowsills? But the idea here is that you don’t need to go shopping in order to decorate your front door - you can probably just move some stuff around and get the effect you want. And if you’re daunted at the thought of window boxes, or planting things, well then here is your work-around. Just add pumpkins! It took me five minutes to gather the stuff, and rather longer to fuss around with it. I hope it sparks some decorative energy.


There was a time in the dim and distant past when I would go to the nursery and buy up bedding by the armful, plant it up in containers and display it, together with pumpkins, and perhaps a lantern, outside the front door. The window boxes too, would get an autumnal shake-up; I would swap out the summer lobelia and nasturtiums with cyclamen, or viola, plunging bulbs beneath.


But the window boxes went during some building work a couple of years ago, and haven’t yet returned. It’s a sadness, but also a relief in some ways - the hassle of watering and tending to them (one more thing in a long list of ‘stuff to do’ has been removed - and I rather relish the austerity of unadorned windowsills.


But I’m not the fun police, and I do love a celebration. There’s absolutely no point in fighting against Halloween when you have children. They love it and there’s nothing to do but embrace the entire she-bang. So I went off to the nursery, fully intending to buy great big chrysanthemum bombs and do like the Americans, with all their fabulous front-door autumnal (or should I say ‘fall’) excess.

Well, I got there, and the big balls of chrysanthemums looked a little tired and a LOT like they’d need me to deadhead for HOURS, but most off-putting of all, they were all encased in plastic, I guess to prevent the stems from flopping out and snapping off.


So I went home, resolving to gather up all the orphaned, random things in my home and garden, and put them on the windowsills. This is what I did. It cost me nothing, and I am smugly pleased with the result.

Here’s what I put there, and where I found it:

  1. Muehlenbeckia complexa: I had thee little plants, bought a while ago because I am VERILY IN LOVE with this plant. I’m waiting for the Gladiolus callianthus to go over, and then I’ll replace them with muehlenbeckia as a permanent planting.

  2. Bunnytail grass: I bought this to plant in the thin strip at the base of the wall at the end of the garden. True to form, I haven’t got around to planting it yet, so it’s going here on the windowsill.

  3. Ivy: Each of my kids have an ivy plant in their bedrooms. I stole them and put them on the windowsill.

  4. Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’. This small pot was the result of some left-over plants that I had when I put a load of plugs at the base of one of my myrtle trees. It has been on a little table outside my shed, flowering its little heart out. I nicked it and put it on the windowsill.

  5. Cylcamen. I bought a load of these at the beginning of the week to plant in a large shallow pot that I usually use for salad leaves and add some colour to my terrace. I also like having some knocking about to bring indoors when the weather turns really ghastly, so I plant them, three to a shallow pan and have them lying in wait. This one is ‘waiting’ on the windowsill.

  6. Gourds. I bought these on purpose at the market - they are ridiculously tasteful and will be joined in due course by proper orange ones, which we will carve scary faces into.

xx Laetitia