17 October 2008

Pumpkin peeps and punkin puns

The Annapolis Valley is known for a number of things, including being the Apple Capital of Nova Scotia, if arguably the country. Charles Prescott is the father of apple growing in our lush valley, as he brought scions and saplings of apples from his native Britain when he settled here in the early nineteenth century. One of the apples he introduced to our province is the Gravenstein, an early season apple that is awesome for pies or fresh eating, and is actually one of the foods in the Slow Food Foundation Ark of Taste.

But we're not talking about apples this time; today, I'm focusing partly on pumpkins. Another great Nova Scotia, Howard Dill, (from Nancy Bond's hometown of Windsor, and recently passed away) developed the giant pumpkin known as Dill's Atlantic Giant, which has been a record breaking gourd for years. There's an art and science--and obsession--to growing giant pumpkins, and there are several festivals celebrating pumpkins of all sizes at this time of year. Kentville, also in the Valley, has a pumpkin people festival every October, and there are dozens, if not hundreds of pumpkin people posing in vignettes all around the town and surrounding area.

I get an enormous charge out of these sculptures, which are put up both by community organizers and by ordinary homeowners. This parade of musicians is down at the community sports park in Kentville.

To market, to market?

Guess this guy must be playing the Orange (Squash) Blossom Special? Or maybe some Punk(in) rock?
Okay, I'll stop with the pun-kins now.

A few cool nights has begun the flush of colour in deciduous trees and shrubs. This is the current view from the Lookoff on a clear October afternoon.

Sumac is one of my favourite small trees/large shrubs. This native exasperates some people, because of its suckering tendencies, but I love it for its graceful shape, for its bird-friendliness, and for the incredible display of colours it puts on in autumn. This is the hybrid 'Laciniata', even more lovely with its filigreed leaves. 
I'm quite a fool for oaks at the best of time, but they show off their best charms in autumn, turning flamboyant colours before turning a deep bronze. They hang on to the trees for a long time before the winds finally force them to relinquish their grip on life. 

Ferns are not without their beauty at this time of year. I THINK this is a sensitive fern, but I could be quite wrong about that. I find that if I don't take my field guide into the woods at least once a year, I get rusty on some of the native ferns because I don't have them in my garden. The ground around it is covered with bunchberries, not yet turning colour, and also with the mainland version of partridgeberries (Mitchella repens) which are NOT to be confused with that gastronomic delight known as the Newfoundland partridgeberry. (Vaccinium vitis-idaea) Those of you not hailing from the Rock-of-my-Heart might know that particular fruit as lingonberry, by the way.

The wild raspberries are turning some lovely shades of carmin and soft peach. 

Hmmm, this doesn't appear to be either a plant nor a pumpkin. What's this doing in the post? 
This is the rare Tomatoby, not so much a plant as a supervisor of Bloomingwriter. Toby felt sad for me that my tomato harvest this year was even less than usual, but he was pleased that I'd put the tomatoes on the windowledge for him to rest his chin on. Hey, I was obviously put here on earth to serve the needs of cats, so I'm happy to accommodate him. As long as he doesn't knock them on the floor. Then they won't be tomatoes anymore. 

They'll be squash. 


  1. Pumpkins are not so much popular in Poland - I have no idea why.

    I ate my first squash this year... (!)

    Greetings and good to hear from youw time to time.


  2. Gravensteiner apples are apples we hare here as well, it's one of the 'old' my favorit is called Åkerö and I wonder if you have it and what is called I will look it up. Lovely to see all the pumpkin, very funny and creative/ LOL Tyra

  3. We have Gravensteiner here too, we actually had one in the garden but it died of old age. The apple we planted instead is Åkerö, Åkerö is what we call a winter apple, you can use all through the winter.
    Love all the pumpkins, very creative and funny!

  4. Great post love the Pumpkin at the top. Looks like you all have fun at this time of year. Best wishes from Brittany France.

  5. Hi Jodi, so wonderful to see your area as the leaves turn. Those sumacs with the lacy leaves are wonderful. The first pumpkin head photo is fabulous, love the hair! And Toby is doing a great job holding those tomaotes in place. Well done. Hope you are feeling well. I posted about your book The Atlantic Gardener's Greenbook that you so graciously sent as the doorprize for your geography lesson here. Sorry it took me so long to acknowledge it publicly, I lost the pix. ;-<

  6. I enjoyed all the pumpkin pics, no need to say which one was my favourite. ;-)

    Naw, Toby isn't resting his little chin on the toms, he is just trying to purr them ripe.

    Have a great weekend!

  7. haha...cute post!!! I LOVE the cat pumpkin!!

  8. Love the pumpkins, jodi! We haven't been to see the Pumpkin People in Kentville yet this year, but hope to. Tell Toby to behave himself (must be something about the name...) and I hope your tomatoes don't get squashed.

  9. Hilarious photos! What incredible fun!!

    And I love the cat resting on the tomatoes.

    Nice to see you back blogging again. Enjoy the autumn bounty!

  10. Pumpkins, yes! At Halloween the creative carvers on our street go gourd-wild. What beautiful colors up North. Thank Toby for me for keeping those tomatoes from squashing. :)

  11. Hi Jodi
    Hope you are feeling a wee bit better ! .. Toby has a way of making you NOTICE him while elegantly posing on the tomato(e)? I just want to put an "e" there all the time : )
    Yes ! we went to Windsor years ago when we lived in Debert .. to see the Fall fair and we loved all the pumpkins there .. some of the BEST Halloweens of my life were spent in Nova Scotia .. I get a bit homesick this time of year .. even though Ontario, Kingston is so beautiful too.
    Great pumpkin and assorted Fall beauties post !

  12. I loved all those pumpkin-headed scarecrows. Each one is a work of art. I need to get creative with my jack o'lanterns this year, but nothing is coming yet.
    I can't believe the glowing color of that Oak, it is just fantastic!

  13. I love the squash joke! lol And the photo of Toby is so cute.

    Your photos of the fall color are wonderful! I, too, am a fool for oaks, particularly when they start changing color.


  14. Jodi, you have just been so much pun today. I hope this means you are feeling much better. Love the pumpkins done up as people. This could be an inspiration to many. That is one contented kitty in the window.

  15. Ha ha, nice way to tie it all together at the end. That pumpkin festival looks like fun and I checked out that link to the slow foods which is now added to my favourites so I can explore it further. I am a great fan of sumac myself and would include it in my miniscape if it weren't for that I need more land. Toby looks so cute all cuddled up to the tomatoes, perhaps he's assisting their ripening?

  16. Jodi,
    thank you for your comment. Enjoyed your post about pumpkins and all the colourful pictures.
    Love the kitty pumpkin:)
    Fall ist a time to say goodbye to flowers, but the warm weather allows for long walks along the lake. I love fall - time to reflect and enjoy nature.
    Here in Guildwood,
    we cleaned up the shoreline of Lake Ontario,
    raised concern about the Emerald Ash Borer and now we are noticing the spread of the Dog-strangling Vine causing the loss of Bio-diversity in our area.
    I have published articles in my other blog:
    http://guildwood.blogspot.com to provide more information for interested gardeners.
    Best regards Gisela

  17. Never the fool for oaks, dear Jodi, my heart stands with you. In this lovely October afternoon post, I hear your heart sing, hoping you must be feeling better.

  18. Do I spy a 'Green Zebra' tomato? My Tiger Eyes is drab this year. I think it was all the rain so I am happy to see yours looking so bright and sunny!

  19. Ahhhh...I love pumpkins. When I lived in Michigan I could grow wonderful ones - and great winter squashes, but here in the south - my attempts have had pathetic results! The worst - the absolute worst - is that the local 'pumpkin patch' plants pumpkins in August - and then by October the vines look good, and they buy pumpkins and place them in the patch of vines - so that young kids think they are picking out there pumpkins from a real pumpkin patch. Seeing that each fall makes me long for Michigan and that wonderful garden! (Okay, I long for it until the beginning of February - when Michigan was buried in snow and I can start planting potatoes down here!). Hope all is well.

  20. The pumpkin decorations are really clever; I wish I was that creative! I've been admiring the sumacs this fall, too; I love their brilliant colors. Our oaks have not begun to change color; I hope they do before a strong wind blows off their leaves.

    Toby looks like a great tomato guardian:) I'm amazed how many of us have cats named Toby--ours likes to perch by my computer.

  21. Mmm, pumpkins - as in pumpkin bread, pumpkin pie, pumpkin ice cream - and I feel the same about apples - as you know. I'd love to try a Gravenstein. I too am put here on this earth to serve the needs of cats, and I can tell that Toby thinks you're doing a very good job. I don't know if my two furboys will wake up long enough to let me know how I'm doing. They're too cozy by the fire I built for them (or so they think!).

  22. How DO you get your children to pose just so...?

  23. Tee hee. Those are lovely tomatoes indeed, if a tad unripe.
    Be well--

  24. Thanks for the tour! I so enjoyed the Pumpkin People, views of autumn, clever puns and "Tomatoby" - did you end up with squash? /Deb

  25. I can't help but love that first pumpkin and the pumpkin parade is too cool - makes me want to set one up in the village green.

    Tomatoby looks like he can't get his pillow comfortable enough to fall asleep and is waiting for a lap to appear.

    Great view from the lookout. But I'm beginning to dislike NS. My good friend is talking about moving back there and I can't blame her.


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