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