Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pumpkin Trees And The No-Man's Land of Autumn In The Garden Center

There used to be a commercial here in Cleveland around this time of year for Cedar Point amusement park. It was a push to get people to make one last visit to the park before the end of the season. The ad opened by showing the Corkscrew rollercoaster during the sunny summer with screaming riders tearing along the track. The shot then faded into the same twist of the coaster but this time covered in snow. I hated that commercial. It was so depressing and made me mourn the ending of my summer. No business should make its customers feel that way!

Seeing an empty garden center this time of year kind of gives me the same feeling. Is there anything sadder than empty benches in a garden center? If your store depresses me, I'm probably not going to be stopping by.

So what do you do this time of year? I'd like to hear more success stories from the "fall is for planting" mindset. Truthfully, here in Zone 5, I could probably have a fall season that's almost as long as summer. I could get a good two to three months out of a flat of pansies, and how about throwing in some other varieties, while we're at it? If I'm not into pansies and mums, does my gardening year have to be over?

I just noticed a container of nemesia in my backyard making a comeback now that our oppressively hot summer is over. If I'd known this was going to happen, I might have looked for more at a garden center to color up my front porch this fall. I've been trained that the end of my true gardening season is around the end of August. True or not true?

Fall Is For Gardening
I've seen a few things in the last week that have gotten me excited about fall.  Have you ever seen pumpkin trees as floral items? Me neither, until I heard from California-based Dos Gringos, which is growing pumpkin trees. You can check out this novelty on their website. One Halloween idea website, 365halloween.com, says, "I’ve been seeing these for sale a lot recently at places like Trader Joe's, farmers markets, and a few grocery stores."

In fact, another blog reports that Trader Joe's has been carrying the floral department item for at least 12 years, but the vase life is a little short. Breeding opportunity!

The other thing that got my attention, of course, is Silver Vase's Halloween orchid, Lila Mystique. It's the third in the series after Blue Mystique and Indigo Mystique. Applause. Halloween needs a signature plant.  

“Studies show consumer spending on Halloween d├ęcor is second only to Christmas,” says Silver Vase CEO Andrew Barth. Get in on those sales! 

Do a Google Image Search on Halloween plants and look at all the great stuff that comes up -  the eyeball plant, Spilanthes oleracea; Chinese Lanterns with paper-lantern-like orange flowers; Venus flytrap.

As a gardener, I don't want to see all the life and color of spring and summer fade away into fall and winter. What do you have that might make me feel a little breeze of spring even as I'm pulling out my winter clothes?

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