Monday, November 30, 2009

Sugar Pumpkins

My fascination with small things is contagious.  By that I mean that it's not partial to people, places, or events.  It extends to most other objects, living or non-.  And it especially extends towards plants.  This is the first year I've grown the Cucurbit family's admirably compact 6-inch pumpkins; each one affectionately called "Small Sugar".  I gently trained them onto a tomato trellis, in part to keep the giant foliage aerated and dry.  A not-so-sneaky, not-so-effective effort to ward off the infamous powdery mildew.  Well, I lost the aesthetic battle (this was neither heartbreaking nor a surprise), but the plant fruited nicely, having grown a proud display of it's own autumn bounty.  We severed the vines and set the pumpkins out for All Hallow's Eve, piled as high as they'd allow.  And in that spot they patiently waited out the moon.  Thanksgiving arrived.  It was then I brought them in and washed them up, made a soup and served them.  But not before saying aloud, "Thanks, Sugar".  

Saturday, November 7, 2009

November Garden

Intermittent soakers of the present, in combination with previous summer heat spikes, appear to have primed Portland's trees, understory, and stand-alone shrubs for great display of autumn leaf change.   Each next one I see is my new favorite.  It's tough deciding between the scarlet Tupelos, Sunset Maples, the various Japanese Maples, golden Elms, Gingkos and more.  At home in the garden, away from these fantastic trees, we've been experiencing some noteworthy change as well.  Our little Jersey blueberry (still a youth) turned a shocking, beautiful red.  And our Fothergilla, oh the Fothergilla, a warm sort of orangey-yellow I could look at all day.  On our own small scale, we're building the patchwork of colors fondly remembered from North Carolina autumns of childhood.  As youths, my siblings and I climbed Hanging Rock as a family to view them.  Here in Portland, we'll be putting out our arborist ladder and leaning it on the garage for us and our visitors to get our bird's-eye view.  Until I've got those pictures, here are a few from the ground.