Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Pumpkin Trail

Yesterday evening I attended the 2nd Annual Pumpkin Trail at the Lubbock Memorial Arboretum. The three day event officially began at 6 but I went half an hour earlier in the hopes of getting a decent parking spot. Good move on my part. The place began to fill up as more folks arrived. Some brought their kids in costumes and there was reportedly even a dog in a pumpkin suit. I expected a lot of folks to attend as the night before, which was opening night, was interrupted by winds, a lot of hail and pounding rain. There were still rain puddles but most of the gravel path was dry enough to easily maneuver.

The temperature was just right, cool enough to wear a light jacket if one chose, and the hot cocoa sold at the event was perfect. There were 1,550 carved and/or painted pumpkins that had been donated by various individuals, businesses and civic and social groups. What a fun community event! And the pumpkins were amazing. Some were grouped into themed settings and there were also several dressed up scarecrows decked in full costumed regalia, purses, hats and all. Below are a few of my favorite pumpkins.

This one would have one first prize from me if I was handing out awards. It's a dancer holding up her skirt and was donated by the Aztlan Ballet Folklorico.
The Edgar Allen Poe pumpkin was my next favorite. So well done, almost like a woodblock cut. Too bad the donor didn't place a raven on top.
For some reason, Einstein was carved upside down. Or perhaps the carver accidently cut the hole for the candle on the wrong end, who knows. It was the only pumpkin that was upside.
Here's part of the Buddy Holle pumpkin grouping. Holle was a Lubbock native and the museum named after him donated these pumpkins.
The Day of the Dead pumpkin grouping was colorful and fun. It should be the winner for most fun display.
And of course no pumpkin display is complete without the pumpkin eating pumpkin.
There were a lot of cat pumpkins. This one was really nicely carved out.
Toward the end of the trail was a dual display of good and bad fairytales. The good display had butterfly wings, ribbons and mini pumpkins hanging from the tree. Below, a variety of pumpkins were grouped together. The owl trio was so cute.
The princess theme, complete with a coach pumpkin, captured a lot of people attention, particularly the kids who liked to get their photos taken in front of the display.
The swan gourds also got a lot of oohs and ahhhs from onlookers. The speckling looked like feathers.
And, since this a gardening blog, below are a few shots from the large flower beds at the back part of the Arboretum. My previous visits had been for plant sales and I had never wandered back far enough to see the far back beds. They were beautiful and putting on quite the show for visitors last night. Their zinnias hadn't faded away yet, unlike in my garden. The marigolds really stood out, making me wish I had some. Unfortunately, this is one plant I have never been able to grow. Don't know why, but I always kill them.
It would not surprise me if all these plants were raised from seed. The plantings were dense and beautiful.
I was hoping to post a slide show of the rest of the pumpkin photos. However, after an hour of trying to do a slide show on Picasa I've given up. Could their instructions be any more confusing? ARGH!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Bloom Day

October 15th marks Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, a monthly event hosted by May Dreams Garden Blog. Happy Bloom Day to all the gardeners out there. Here, there's still quite a lot blooming in the garden but unfortunately I haven't gotten around to photographing this week. So below are some of the images I took last week.

The zinnias are about at the end of the bloom cycle. The stalks are drying up as the temperatures begin to drop. Love the orange color of the first one. And the red was so vibrant and beautiful.

The gaillardia "Oranges and Lemons" still has a few blossoms on it, but is being overtaken by the purple heart which has gone wild and is flattening many of the plants around it. The Coreopsis is still hanging on too. This is the first year I haven't killed it and the larger deeper yellow ones are still alive too, yay!

And last but not least, the two Turk's Caps are still doing well and blooming. I have high hopes these make it through the winter as I've seen several enormous bushes of them around town.
To see what's blooming in other gardens, visit May Dreams Garden's blog.

Fertilizer Friday - Fall Mums

Recovering from surgery has left me uninspired towards posting anything of late. However, today, the floral show outside reminded me to update the blog. The plant that speaks of fall to me are chrysanthemums. And they are in full show in the front and back beds. The color that seems to stand out the most is white and that's no different when it comes to mums. The combination above, white mums and a Iceberg rose, compliment each other well and glow against the back fence in the evenings. If I had any self control I would have a Moon Garden with all pale colored plants but that's never going to happen. I buy whatever catches my eye, which is why I have a "Cottage Garden" run amuck. The upside is the variety of plants and colors seems to attract a variety of wildlife, some wonderful and some I could totally do without.
The thing about mums here is that they grow well, they spread like weeds and if you cut them back after they're done blooming you can get 2-3 blooms a year, though the blooms will be smaller. There used to  be a lot of experimentation and planting of mums here in Lubbock back in the 1960s-1970s when there was an attempt at naming the city the mum capital of the world (or something along those lines). However, the hard water here would kill off the plants or stunt their growth over the years. However, I've not really experienced a lot of that. More like mums running amuck. Case in point, the one purple mum in the picture above. Over a one year period, I have pulled out sections of the plant and transplanted them to other spots in the front bed that lies on the other side of where this tiny long bed resides. Both are on either side of the sidewalk to the front door. Now, those small mum transplants have taken over the front long bed, crowding everything else out. So I'm going to enjoy the show this year and then will have to do some heavy cull [and possible transplanting] come spring. The mums are covering the Shasta Daisies, which are a lot more valuable to me due to their pretty white color and the fact that they are a lot harder to find in town than mums.
All said, I highly recommend planting mums. They're easy to grown, easy to transplant and are the plants that keep on giving and can easily to given to friends as freebies. Also, as far a vigorious show and striking color, the whites, then bright yellows, and then the purples seem to be the order of showmanship. They also seem to be pretty pest free. Their scent isn't exactly the most appealing but then who goes around smelling a mum?

Want to see more? Visit Tootsie Time to see who else is participating in "Fertilizer Friday" and showing off what's blooming in their gardens.


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