Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Pumpkin On a Stick & Other Garden Goodies

This is a two for one post. Normally I like to post just one subject but since I've cut back on posting and just can't seem to stick to one thing to photograph in the garden you all get a twofer! The main thing I'd like to share is my 'Pumpkin on a Stick'. Ever heard of it before? No, it's not a fair treat in the class of butter on a stick or koolaid on a stick but it is indeed a neat thing-you will not eat this 'pumpkin' though.
This pumpkin is actually an eggplant, Solanum integrifolia to be exact. This is an ornamental eggplant and as you can see the eggplants look just like pumpkins. I must say this has to be one of the neatest if NOT the neatest thing I've grown in my vegetable garden. I received this one little plant from a fellow master gardener when I won a door prize drawing. Thanks David! He was kind enough to supply me with all literature he had on this plant. David told me he purchased the seeds and started several plants for his garden and to give away to us master gardeners and to a select few of his friends. At first I thought my new acquistion was a brugmansia (which I believe is in the same family as eggplants-Solanaceae) but that was not the case.
Like all eggplants this one needs lots of sun, staking, fertilizer, and heat. My pumpkin on a stick has grown from a 4" plant in June to a more than four foot tall plant in August! There are several small fruits growing on it but only a few have begun turning the pumpkin orange as is characteristic of this fruit. I have read where these 'pumpkins' are great for use in dried arrangements. I suspect they'll come in handy for my garden club this fall. This is a very easy and rewarding plant to grow but I must say it has been mercilessly attacked by flea beetles. I do not normally use any pesticides in my gardens but have resorted to Sevin to combat the flea beetles. Overall the flea beetles have not severely damaged the plant but the damage could get to that point if not treated. 

So I ask you all-have you ever heard of 'Pumpkin on a Stick"? And if so what is your experience with growing it?
Now onto some late summer garden pictures. Here in Tennessee it is Surprise Lily time and boy oh boy do these ever make for treats in the garden. I have several clumps that were started when a gardening friend gave me some bulbs (in February of course). These lilies (Lycoris squamigera) have a great fragrance and last forever as cut flowers in the house.
The butterflies and bees have taken over all the self seeded cosmos in my vegetable garden. It is such a joy to watch all of the insects!
Here we are looking into the vegetable garden-jungle. Not a jungle really but quite full of plants and vegetation. The vegetables and orange cosmos have really done quite well this year. I must say this has been the best season for my vegetable garden. We are still picking great tomatoes and cucumbers and peppers. The cantaloupes and squash will be ready soon. The zucchini plants are the largest I've ever ever grown in my life and the funny thing is I haven't done anything special-except water regularly. I've never had cucumbers past the end of July in my garden. Disease and insects usually take out the cucumbers and squash but this year both have stayed away for the most part. 

I purchased an absolutely fabulous native grass a few months ago at the Perennial Plant Society meeting in June. It is 'Northwinds' Panicum virgatum. I call it my punctuation mark amongst all of the other frilly, roundy, and busy perennials. It really sets off the pineapple sage in front of it and Rudbeckia lacinata to the right of it. Asters and lantana round out the perennials in this area of the Sunny Perennial Border looking toward the Vegetable Garden, aka jungle.

Lastly, you know it is nearing fall when the ornamental grasses begin blooming in Tennessee. This one is my absolute favorite (even more than 'Northwinds'). It is 'Adagio' Miscanthus sinensis and does so well here in my garden that I've spread it all around. It is drought and shade tolerant-a total bonus here. I have it paired with a 'Limelight' hydrangea, an arborvitae, several 'Immaculee' peonies and a 'Little Richard' abelia along the northern edge of my Foundation Beds. 

I hope everyone is enjoying their summer and are looking forward to fall. My neighbor (Mr. C. the farmer) tells me it will be an early fall because all of the swallows have left his farm. He says they usually stick around through most of August but have been gone for a while now. I always listen to him because with all of his years of farming the land and loving the critters that live on it I've found he has a great deal of wisdom-and hasn't been wrong yet. 

in the garden....

Words and Photos Property of In the Garden Blog Team, In the Garden


  1. I have never grown pumpkin on a stick, but I have seen it for sale at wholesale florists. Judging from the price you may want to skip giving them to your garden club and sell them, a few may pay for your thanksgiving turkey. I have grown another ornamental eggplant called the Easter Egg plant. It grew perfectly sized, egg-shaped fruit in assorted pastel colors. It was a lot of fun.

  2. I have never grown pumpkin on a stick as well. But, After read your article I am interested in growing a pumpkin on a stick.

  3. I've never heard of pumpkin on a stick but what a fun plant. I hope they all turn orange for you. Your jungle is looking good. Glad to hear it is producing. Love that grass too. I need some more perrenial grasses. Here's to the early fall your neighbor predicts!

  4. I have seen Pumpkin on a Stick in the catalogs and just recently on another blog. Very cool looking and I bet they will make great Fall arrangements. Your gardens are looking great,love the lilies and the grass! Do listen to your neighbor farmer. We know Spring and Fall are nearing when we see and abundance of yellow sulpurs...and yes they are beginning to flutter around.

  5. Pumpkin on a stick, the title had me believing we were going to your kitchen either cooking or crafting today! Ha, I have never heard of this plant before and it is so cool. What a treat to learn something new today..

    Your lily and jungle are looking good too but I am captivated by the grass picture! Pic number 7 is just calling out to me! Cheetah kitty jumped into my lap and I could not get to the keyboard so I was just gazing at that one picture for some time. I think kitty was telling me to slow down and take a real good look. Okay, so she was saying rub my belly mommy.

    As I type, I see a Pileated wood pecker high up in a tree outside my window. Love those birds!

    Have a good day and enjoy those yummy cucumbers as long as you can…

  6. I've never see that type of cool! I hope your farmer friend is right, I am ready for an early fall! Have ya'll planned a trip to NC yet? Carla

  7. Les, Thanks for the info on the pumpkin on a stick-I must now look for a market for them:)

    Carla, Rog just got a new job and I've been working too so we will have to come during a holiday. As of now I am thinking around Thanksgiving time as we have so much going on. I will for sure email you and hope we can get together because you aren't far from his family's home. Congrats to the girls again!

    Darla, What blog? I'd love to go visit it.

  8. I also have never heard of the pumpking on a stick but it sounds like a very fun and interesting plant. Whe I buy my seeds for next year I will keep an eye out for it along with the easter egg one!! Since I do not grow eggplant i do not go to that page (I buy most of my seeds on line) but I will this year.

    Those old timer farmers usually know what they are talking about. Made me think of Nina and her Dad.

  9. Soon to be noon. Love you garden. It is so full this time of yr. I've got to get more ornamental grasses. I've never heard of Pumpkin on a stick. Must check if it will grow here. I have had the white eggplant before but seems it gets hit with frost before the fruit matures. I like unusual plants.
    Sure hope Fall will arrive soon. Cooler temps means more enjoyable gardening.

  10. Tina have never heard of pumpkin on a stick. It looks really cool tho and sadly our summer up here is way to cold and short so I probably will never get a chance to grow it. Maybe I should move south.

  11. Oh yes, I'm enjoying summer, especially now that it's gotten cooler. But I am not looking forward to fall, no matter how beautiful it is. I'd like ever lasting summer!

  12. Love the twoer!
    Pumpkin on a stick, nope. Of course since we've only had 5 days of summer weather here just outside of Seattle, we'd never be able to grow them unless in a greenhouse. But it is fun to see yours!
    Your flowers, gardens, and 'jungle' look fantastic. Happy gardening and harvesting!

  13. Love all the blooms but really love the pumpkin on a stick..perhaps I will have better luck with pumpkins are just not producing...lots of flowers but no fruit...

  14. Tina, You had me going there for a little while. I was ready to try a new dessert treat! Thought Pumpkin on a Stick would be a great sweet to try. However, as I read on it is only for the decoration, not the eating! In any case, an interesting plant, may try next year if I can get a couple of seeds. Jack

  15. I am sadly lacking in information on designer veggies! :-) I thought the pumpkin on a stick was going to be garden art... well, edible art, after all!

  16. I heard about that pumpkin before but never had the chance to grow them. Looks fun. Wow I like your lillies very much, its beautiful.

  17. I am so glad you posted the Pumpkin on a Stick!! I got some seeds from one of my SC neighbors, he had acquired them from Park Seed retail store.....they gave him some little pumpkins from a plant growing by the door. Mine is in a very dry area and is only about 1 1/2 - 2 feet tall and there are flowers, but no little pumpkins---YET! They are fun so see in the fall...little pumpkins.
    I planted Panicum 'Shenandoah' last year and really like it. It is in the front yard, sort of hiding the well cover. Mine is to turn red in the fall...will keep you posted.

  18. Carla, I just remembered my second grandbaby will be born around Thanksgiving so not sure when we'll head to NC. But will email you.

  19. What a great ornamental. It's very festive for fall!( the pumpkin on a stick.)
    And congrats to you on your upcoming 2nd grandbaby!

  20. I've never grown Pumpkin on a stick but it looks like an interesting plant. I love your Surprise Lilies, really need to plant some of those in my garden. so pretty!