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This fall themed centerpiece is made with pumpkin, succulents and moss (credit: Tracy Kessler).

When it comes to the holiday season, decorating my home with fall and harvest themed decor is something I always look forward to. So when I saw that A North Fork Affair, a local event design company, was hosting a class on how to make the most gorgeous pumpkin succulent centerpieces, I knew I had to learn how to recreate it.

“If you’re making a fall-themed centerpiece, where do you pull inspiration from?” I asked Tracy Kessler, the owner of A North Fork Affair.

“Go to nature, especially out here,” she said. “Pampas grass is really popular right now. We have tons of things that look like pampas grass all around us. Right now from my window, I can see all of my seagrass is blooming with these wheat looking flowers. If you go to our shoreline on all the rivers and canals, you’ve got milkweed that looks a lot like pampas grass.”

Hydrangeas, she added, may look dead when they’re on the bush right now, but “they actually look fantastic inside because they’re still holding their shape but they’re now fall colors. So you’ll get a lot of deep purples with a little bit of green and brown. I’ll make an arrangement with all of those things all from nature — it’s all free.”

As far as what to put all these neutral toned flora into, Kessler recommends something with texture. “I’ll generally pick a vessel, like a vase or even a bread bowl, something made out of wood, because the texture is more fall.”

If you’re looking to recreate the pumpkin succulent centerpiece, here’s how Kessler does it.

  1. Wash and dry your pumpkin thoroughly.
  2. Spray the pumpkin with spray Polyurethane. “You can get that at any hardware store. It makes it super shiny and helps to preserve the pumpkin,” she said.
  3. Gather your plants. Kessler recommends five different types of succulents of different heights and textures. You’ll also need a fresh green moss and a Spanish moss. 
  4. Start layering. Using a hot glue gun, secure the green moss around the pumpkin’s stem. Take clippings from the succulents and glue those around the stem and moss. Start with the succulent clipping that will hang low and then add the taller clippings with more height. “These will kind of give the pumpkin depth,” Kessler said.
  5. Finish off the top with the Spanish moss. It’s more wiry texture will allow you to fill in any blank spots or places you want to cover up. 

The centerpiece should last at least until Thanksgiving, Kessler said. Just make sure to spray a bit of water on the succulents each day to keep the clippings hydrated.