Last autumn, I went on a hayride with my sister and niece, and returned home with two medium-sized pumpkins. I placed them, intact, on either side of my front steps for decoration and left them there until they were nothing but papery husks with thick stems sticking out. In the back of my mind, I had the idea that they might sprout pumpkin vines. That's exactly what happened.
To the right of our porch, there is a rapidly-growing pumpkin plant with a stem an inch thick, leaves the size of dessert plates, and more golden blossoms with each passing day. Early on it began to encroach on the sidewalk, so I gently pointed it in the opposite direction and now it's advancing on the peony bush. I think I'm going to build it an arc of chicken wire to give it something to clasp with its little tendrils (other than the surrounding marigolds).
Some of my guests are a little puzzled by the presence of the huge, Triffid-like pumpkin vine. I've heard more than once, "Is that some kind of big weed?" No, indeed! It's my ticket to free Halloween decorations this year.
The best part is that the pumpkin plant looks rather attractive with the other flowers I planted nearby. I went with a palette of reds, yellows and oranges this year, so the squash blossoms, and eventually the pumpkins themselves, complement the look nicely. Maybe next year I'll skip the flowers altogether and just go for attractive crops in front of the house. It would certainly cement my reputation as being practical to a fault!