A special thank you to all my gentle readers for your comments and advice. The birdhouse gourd vine will stay through the winter. I”ll keep you posted on how things go. Late this week I noticed one of the gourds had doubled in size. Woo-hoo! What would a gardening gal do without this community?
Speaking of community, many thanks to gardensunshine for including me in her list of Beautiful Bloggers. I appreciate your kind words I’ve been following her five-part series as she transforms her “shed” from drab to fab. Honestly, it’s more rustic house if you ask me and I’m positively envious of all that space. The shed even has a bit of history:
It is believed to be one of the oldest buildings in our county. From what we can tell it was used as a house or bunker for the men working in the clay pit making clay bricks around 1890 and earlier. It is a really neat crooked building and as we found out when we power washed it full of water, it leans heavily to the left.
Garden Sunshine’s Historic Garden Shed (before)
Pop on over to read her five-part series, and to see the beautiful transformation in words and pictures. It was lovingly restored.
Back at gardening nirvana, we’re in for an early fall heat wave, with temps floating in the low nineties. I’m glad I got the winter garden in when I did. It’s a happy garden too, if that’s possible. The worm bin is a bustling place, thriving on kitchen scraps and leaves.The composter is “cooking” away, making organic mulch for next summer’s garden. I covered the seeds with wire and mesh, to ensure tiny critters give them a chance to grow. Lindy thought it was a new litter box, so I had to put that to rest as well.
Fall leaves, summer flowers, happy bride and groom
Summer officially turned to fall today (September 22nd). The autumnal equinox marks the time of year when day and night are of equal length. It’s also a personal milestone. I married the love of my life on the first day of autumn 17 years ago. Autumn landed on September 23rd that year, but no matter. Symbolically, the days feel like one and the same.
We both share a love of the outdoors, so exchanging vows on the grounds of the elegant Wente Brothers Winery was perfect. When I walked down the “aisle,” it was actually a grassy courtyard. We held hands and declared our love beneath a flower-laden arch. I still have a small pressed flower from my tossed bouquet.
After one night in San Francisco we honeymooned along the Mendocino coast. We hiked local beaches, rode the Skunk Train amid redwoods and toured a botanical garden hugging the coast.
Nature is a great equalizer. Seasons change, life ebbs and flows. The majesty of the earth brings a uniting force to bear. As the autumnal equinox ushers in shorter days and longer nights, I’m grateful for the love in my life; grateful for my love in all seasons.
I’m originally from Canada, so it took me awhile to appreciate the subtleties of a California autumn. Our boys wore shorts on Halloween night and I walked home from a party earlier that week in a sleeveless costume. In Ontario our Mom insisted on coats, even though we grumbled at the injustice of our “spoiled” ensembles.
We planted a carefully placed Chinese Pistache (Pistacia chinensis) as a reminder of this lovely season. It gradually produces ocher, amber and other golden shades, before the wind sweeps the leaves to the grass below. Our lone tree sits on our suburban lot, but it reminds me of my early roots. In my imagination our tree resides in a New England forest, surrounded by others dropping leaves on the earthen floor. Our Pistache is easily viewed from my kitchen sink and my home office, a wistful reminder of another time.
I do love spring, with the warming sun and wonderful rebirth, but in my heart of hearts, its autumn that firmly takes hold.
True to their genetic roots, our pumpkin vines are coming to a natural end. The leaves, once vibrant, can now be crushed into a fine powder, dusting the garden floor. The vines snap like celery, hollow stems that spent the season bringing energy to the fruit. From seed to pumpkin in 90 days. It never gets old!
We harvested 25 pumpkins this season, with just a few young stragglers left on the vines. Nights are cooler; fall beckons. We gardeners, however, never give up hope. We’ll keep on tending the baby fruit until the end. Our crop produced several varieties this year, a few planned and at least one surprise: a blue-green Jarrahdale.
From Seed to Fruit
My son harvested the last great pumpkin, a hearty, healthy orange. We have a table in our entry way, now laden with fruit. As the season draws near, we’ll set them out along the stone wall in the front garden. My husband will then carve the larger ones with pride and they will finish the season as Jack O’ Lanterns, admired by the plethora of families that come calling on Halloween. We’ll collect and dry the seeds to plant the following year and the cycle begins anew.
Good Side/Bad Side: Hard to Decide
“I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”
-Henry David Thoreau
“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics, and the Great Pumpkin.”
- Linus by Charles M. Schulz