It was the last Sunday in October. The day started unusually. After weeks of steady rain interrupted only by bouts of torrential downpour, the sun was shining. We decided to head out to the Westham Island Herb Farm. Our plan? We wanted to say hello to the animals, a collection of friendly domesticated types, and I wanted to buy some fall vegetables. During a visit to the Herb Farm last October I had bought some fingerling potatoes and a bunch of vivid purple carrots; I was hoping for more of the same this year. Topmost on our list however, were pumpkins, at least 3, hopefully one white.
We had a surprise when we arrived at the Herb Farm. The number of cars parked at the farm was at least ten times more than expected. The normally quiet rural road had turned into a parking lot, with only one lane down the centre. Avoiding pedestrians, including numerous excited toddlers, was a challenge. It turned out that the Herb Farm also had a pumpkin patch. My daughter, long past the age of wanting to troop around a muddy field in search of the perfect pumpkin, headed straight for the animals. We admired the donkeys, the highland steer, the goats, the chickens, and the bunnies at some length.
Heading back to the vegetables, it transpired that there was only one place to pay for both veggies and pumpkins. The line-up stretched for miles to the west. We marvelled at the gourds, then decided to abandon.
On the way home we stopped at Country Farms, which also has a pumpkin patch, produce for sale, and a small number of animals. After briefly admiring the chickens, we were able to choose some pumpkins at the farm stand without having to deal with the enthusiasm of the pumpkin patch crowd. Though no fingerling potatoes were to be found, we did buy some colourful “Indian Red” carrots and a bunch of purple kale. We were unable to buy a white pumpkin, which was a little disappointing, as last year we had one which looked just a little more gruesome than the standard orange pumpkins. We took some photos of colourful peppers and headed home.
Later in the day the pumpkins were carved, and the kale and carrots were cooked. A good way to wrap up the last weekend in October.
In my garden right now.
Dry days of sunshine and warmth – hardly typical weather on the west coast in October. The garden is dry and still needs regular watering. Who has any energy for that anymore? The garden needs a thorough cleaning up. I’ve been postponing the removal of my tomato plants, in hopes that more tomatoes will ripen in the sunshine. Some of the annuals are still pumping out flowers, while others, like the sweet peas, are eking out a last gasp of blooms. The perennials have had enough. Some, like the dwarf delphiniums I planted earlier this summer, seem to have disappeared completely. The back yard is still littered with plums from the tree that lives on the other side of the fence. The business of picking up plums is an endless one.
The roses are in transition. I can see hips on several of my rose bushes. There is one fat red hip on Blanc Double de Coubert, who sets hips grudgingly at best. A few of the roses are still blooming and producing new buds, but none more exuberantly than Frederic Mistral. This rose is covered in large fragrant pink blooms. The perfume wafts over me as I scoop up the plums and pick the tomatoes. Really, this rose is a monster taking over my tiny rose bed, but it’s hard to argue with blooms and fragrance like that.
I suppose I can’t postpone the cleanup much longer. It's Thanksgiving weekend, time to truly move forward into autumn.
Shown in the photo: rose hips from Bonica shrub rose, tomatoes, Frederic Mistral rose (top row), impatiens, sweet peas, Russian sage (middle row), oregano and sage, sedum, hardy fuschia (bottom row).
Imperfect gardener, learning everything the hard way.