Pumpkins with interesting stems and the potential for whimsey make uplifting October gifts.
And once again they’ve been given to older people this past week, the oldest being 97-year-old J.
He and his (now deceased) wife were inspiration for the first pumpkin I decorated in 2010. They were having health issues and when I saw the lopsided pumpkin (photo below), the outcast, relegated to the unpopular side of the bin–I wondered who would buy it. Then I realized it could bring a smile if filled with chrysanthemums…and immediately I thought of J and his wife. .
It was a medium-size pumpkin. I quickly drove it home and put it on the kitchen counter, thinking I’d cut off the top, put a plastic container inside and fill it with water and flowers. However visualizing the lopsidedness and not wanting to discard the stem, sparked another idea: Why not poke holes in it, carefully push chrysanthemum stems into the holes, and see how it looks.
I purchased Trader Joe’s chrysanthemum bouquet ($3.99), took ivy from the yard, and bought little scarecrows at Michael’s ($1.50 I think). The 2010 pumpkin lasted over 2 weeks I was told.
Since we’ve now moved to NYC and use public transportation, I bought small pumpkins this year, the little pie pumpkins, because they’re easier to transport.
I focused on size and long stems, not realizing, until I read in Mayo Clinic’s Nutrition-wise Blog:”Pumpkin Trivia–10 facts about this fall favorite,“ that these little pumpkins are sweeter but have less water inside than the larger ones bred for carving. I immediately understood why the larger pumpkins lasted two weeks (stems must suck up the liquid inside).
Because there”s less liquid in the little pumpkins, I squirted some water in the holes before poking in stems, hoping to make up for the lost moisture. And since there are alway left-over flowers, I left extras at J’s this year. All should last a week without having to add extra flowers. (I’ll post an update on that in a few weeks.) Next year I’ll buy carving variety pumpkins, looking for the smallest.
Four pumpkins were decorated. The one at the top is J’s. The three below went to women ages 70-90. (Click photos–except 2010 photo–to enlarge)
When we can put smiles on elders’ faces, we’re adding a bit to help them age well, aren’t we?
Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely tips, information and research from top universities, respected professionals and selected publications–to help parents age well.
Related: Click “Halloween Posts” tab under header above for past posts and photos