Early Fall

saturated (6)The beginning of the fall season is a beginning to treasure.  All of the hard work growing from the spring through the summer of  comes to fruition. Literally. The tomatoes ripen. The farmers market is bursting with racks of brussel sprouts, giant rosettes of cabbage, and fresh and fragrant onions. Home vegetable gardens yields such that there is plenty for  neighbors and friends. The spring planted perennials have put on a lot of weight. The trees planted in the spring seem to have weathered the transplant shock, and look happier – more settled and comfortable. The memory of insults dealt to the landscape and garden from the hard winter past fade. No need now to remember them.   The beginning of fall can be the last chapter of a very good short story, or the last quarter mile of a long and exhausting run. Or both. There is a good amount of time before the fall sinks and sets in, to enjoy the fruits.

saturated (11)Fall is a favorite season for Rob.  He endures the heat of the summer.  Every plant gets watered as it should.  He good naturedly tolerates the glare.  Once the season begins to shift to fall, he is energized.  He is back and forth across every square inch of the shop, making changes appropriate to the season. Materials he has ordered for the fall season at the shop months ago arrive every day. Much to my delight, he tracks back and forth across a 100 mile radius from the shop, selecting pumpkins and gourds for his fall collection.

saturated (8)There are those gardeners who collect day lilies, or hostas.  Or perhaps they focus on wild flowers, or native plants.  Some love all manner of hardy ornamental grasses.  Some nurture their collection of African violets, or Japanese maples.  There are the rosarians, who keep the interest in great garden roses alive. When I had five acres of land, I lined out peonies in rows, like crops. The alpine plants, the lilies, the dahlias-every plant has a coterie of aficionados. The fans of gourds and the pumpkins are many. Illinois is the nation’s largest producer of pumpkins-over 12,000 acres of crop land are devoted to growing them. Though dwarfed by the Illinois production, Michigan is still the second largest producer of pumpkins and gourds. Though many carve the traditional orange pumpkin for Halloween, or use the pulp for pies, there are those who appreciate the sculptural shapes and colors.

saturated (12)About that color. My favorite part of the fall is how the low light saturates the color of everything it touches.  In summer, the sun high in the sky interrogates everything it touches. Sunny summer days are bright, and shadowless. The slanted and softer fall light brings saturated color back into the landscape. I suspect that Rob’s enchantment with the pumpkins and gourds is as much about color as the forms, textures and shapes. Fall color is term every gardener is familiar with. The leaves turning means a landscape ablaze in yellow, orange, red and purple.  An overcast summer day in a garden means any color will more intense. Never is any color in the garden more intensely representing than in the fall. The light from the sun highlights every plant from the side.  The fall garden appears as though it were on fire.

saturated (14)Every pumpkin or gourd that Rob chooses for his collection at the store has a story about color, texture, and shape behind it.  He will not buy any fall fruit that cannot stand up on its own.  He treasures the stem every bit as much as the fruit. He is as great with subtle fall color as he is with those those colors that blaze away. He probably has other criteria I am not aware of. Rob curates his collection. Every pumpkin and gourd could stand alone, and look great.  A grouping is a pleasure to be enjoyed throughout the fall.

saturated (19)The low fall light reveals texture in a spectacular way. This week was my first look at peanut pumpkins.

saturated (13)Equally astonishing is Rob’s collection of long stemmed pumpkins. He knows a grower who has been hybridizing pumpkins for 55 years. A long stem was a trait he sought. This was a friendship that has taken years to establish. Rob will visit him multiple times in late September.

saturated (22) I am so enjoying this warm late September sun.

aaaat the shop

pastel pumpkinspastel pumpkins


saturated (10)red, white, and wood

saturated (18)a saturated experience of orange

saturated (16)contrast

saturated (2)so orange, and so green.

saturated (3)red and white

pumpkins and gourdspumpkins and gourds

saturated (15)fall light

saturated (7)Last, but certainly not least, those big stems that come with pumpkins attached.


  1. Claudia Burch says:

    beautiful and inspiring, my favorite time of year !!!!

    Thank you !

  2. BEAUTIFUL!!!! Absolutely gorgeous pumpkins!!! Question for you, my furry friends the squirrels, also love my pumpkins….they have devoured each and every one I set outside. I have wiped them with Clorox, sprayed them with Raid, and other obnoxious scents….. Nothing is stopping them!!! Any ideas?

    • Deborah Silver says:

      Dear Amy, the internet is full of ideas about how to deter squirrels=-maybe there is something there to help you! best, Deborah

  3. Those long stemmed pumpkins are magical. Bravo to the grower and to Rob.

  4. Fran Armstrong says:

    I so enjoy your post! Yes fall is the very best, & I do love my collection of pumpkins. You have a wonderful selection of pumpkins & gourds to select from, I certainly would line up to buy some!!

  5. Diane Hoagland says:

    Your place is an inspiration.

    The colors and shapes and textures of the pumpkins remind me of the joys of fall. A wonderful memory I had was the pumpkin festival in Morro Bay Ca, which is also a spectacular sight.

    Thank you., Deborah.

  6. debra phillips says:

    what a magical time at the shop, i can only imagine. rob is masterful in his collection particularly the long stemmed. corgi’s no doubt are also relishing in the cooler temps, mine is

    • Deborah Silver says:

      Debra, our weather is actually quite warm now. Cool mornings give way to 75 degrees in the afternoon. Balmy. I am enjoying it. best, Deborah

      • How funny, your highs are our lows. If you want to feel balmy then move to Macon, Ga. I would kill for your temperatures in the Summer but not in the Winter. We wear shorts 75% of the year. Love your website and always love to share your posts and beautiful writings with my gardener friends. Happy gardening and as always, look so forward to your posts and can’t wait to see your upcoming holiday ones. EJ

  7. As beautiful are the fall colors with the pumpkins and gourds it is your descriptions. I could picture what you were writing is so well. Good job

  8. Cara Kazanowski says:

    Your post and photographs showing the harvest of the research and hard work behind DGW’s special pumpkins and gourds are inspiring!

  9. Wish we had your pumpkins AND your prices here in Alabama! I paid several times as much for an orange one with green “witches’ warts,” but still worth it because it makes me happy.

    • Deborah Silver says:

      Carolyn, we pay by the pound for pumpkins. And in years when the crop is poor, we pay more. Happy to hear you were able to get a pumpkins with witches warts! best, Deborah

  10. I love these pumpkins. Each and every one is thrilling and a happy making emblem of fall fruition.

  11. An extravaganza of “knobblyness” – all exquisite in their own unique way. Well done Rob for gathering together such a wonderful selection.

  12. So many cool pumpkins! I love the long stem ones, have not seen any near me. Wish I lived near your shop or it was near me. I would be a “regular.” Happy Fall.

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