A Pumpkin Tale

October 19, 2009 036 (2)
Once upon a time there were some pumpkins.

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Pretty light blue and green pumpkins that were lovingly placed directly on paper placemats on wooden shelves along with various and sundry other paraphernalia as part of an Autumn/Hallowe’en/Thanksgiving seasonal tableau.

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Those holidays came and went. Christmas and New Year’s came and went. The pumpkins, long forgotten, that were sitting on the wooden shelves so patiently began to rot and ooze. They were remembered as a strange odor began to permeate the air of the dining room. The carcasses were tossed outside under the arbor where the ground needs leveling, where weeds and clippings that are inappropriate for the compost bin are thrown. The wooden shelves need sanded and refinished but for now a little furniture polish will have to do. Soon, there was germination under the arbor.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 102 (2)
The vines grew and flowered.

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There was pollination.

September 3, 2009 Mouse Creek 104 (2)
There was a joyous result of that busy buzzing bee bumbling around the private parts of the pumpkin flower.

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The leaves and tendrils continued to expand.

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The young cucurbit grew plump and blue.

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A little later a sibling was spotted elsewhere amongst the vines. Both of the rotted pumpkin’s seeds must have germinated.

October 5, 2009 035 (2)
Having conquered the ground, the pumpkin plant had high hopes of reaching the peak of the ten foot tall arbor, but couldn’t quite make it over the top.

October 7, 2009 new 045 (2)
Until the kindly Cobaea scandens offered a helping hand, er tendril. The vine had reached the heights and could now bask in the first crisp rays of the rising sun. Oh glorious orb of warming light, I feel your presence and am grateful, so says the pumpkin leaf.

October 19, 2009 032 (2)
Little Blue and Little Green have joined the other farmer’s market pumpkins to make a fine show for this year’s holidays. Outside.

Note: In the first and last images the yellow fellow is a gourd purchased at the large farmer’s market in Asheville during our recent trip there, along with the dusky pumpkin directly behind it. The rest are from our local markets. I suppose the opening sentence should read: Once upon a time there were some pumpkins and a gourd, but it doesn’t.


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48 Responses to A Pumpkin Tale

  1. Wow, Frances, talk about serendipity. And what a beautiful display of pumpkins. I better get out to our farmers market before they are all gone!

    Hi Deborah, thanks. I love pumpkins, everything about them, the way they look, taste and the seeds roasted and salted. Plus they are so inexpensive and compostable. They have it all! πŸ™‚

  2. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    Those volunteer pumpkins and gourds are the most fun to watch grow. The surprise of finding the vines up and running is always a delight. That bumble is serious about the blossom. True love no doubt.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. Funny how a rotten pumpkin will germinate after just being thrown into a pile and the seeds planted in the veggie patch struggle. You are a riot about the bumble! HA πŸ™‚

  3. Oops, I guess pumpkins weren’t meant for Christmas decorations, but I guess it turned out all right with new pumpkins for a new season. Do you want us to remind you to take them outside after Thanksgiving? We’d be happy to help!

    Hi Carol, thanks for the offer. Do contact me around Christmas about cleaning up for the new year. It was a stinky mess that I had totally forgotten about. We seldom use the dining room except when the family comes here at Thanksgiving and out of sight out of mind as they say. The pumpkin display is going to stay outside this year though. πŸ™‚

  4. Janet says:

    Wow, what a mess when those pumkins bagan to rot….what a shame to have to refinish the hutch. I do like the blue one, nice to have some other colors. At least you were able to collect seeds and have a new harvest!

    Hi Janet, thanks for the sympathy. We won’t refinish the hutch, it is all dinged up after so many moved across the country anyway. I might do a little more work on that one shelf though, or not. There was a time when that would have been quite upsetting to me, but no longer. I like this method of seed collection too, just let them rot and throw them on the pile! HA πŸ™‚

  5. tina says:

    I just love it when little surprises that need no help from the gardener grow and bear fruit. Very pretty blue pumpkins.

    Thanks Tina. I love it too, the easiest type of pumpkin growing! πŸ™‚

  6. Don’t you love it to discover a sweet surprise like this. As always, great photos.
    Thanks for visiting my little blog the other day.

    Hi Heather, thanks. I do love the do nothing style of gardening, stress free! My pleasure to visit you too. πŸ™‚

  7. Darla says:

    I simply adore this style of decoration. That wonderful smell of rotting pumpkins is one you will always remember…and this is how I like to plant a garden…toss, forget and it grows!!

    Hi Darla, thanks. I love it too, very natural and carefree. The pumpkins are in direct view of the lazyboy and always cheer me when I look up from the keyboard. We are on the same page of gardening styles it seems. Did you get a new blog on wordpress? Your url says wordpress but when I click on it the link does not work. Am I missing a new blog of yours? πŸ™‚

  8. Sorry about the furniture, but the pumpkins seemed to have apologized for the damage and thanked you for letting them rise from seeds in your garden.


    Thanks Cameron. It’s funny that in my younger days I would have been very upset by the furniture. Now I am more thrilled at the pumpkins that grew from my laziness. πŸ™‚

  9. Nice! I like the blue pumpkin. Our pumpkins have already rotted. A combination of wet weather and borers. You should save some pumpkin seeds form the blue one and try again next year, or just dump it somewhere and see what happens!

    Thanks Dave. I love the blue one too and hope to grow some more next year, by whatever method. I am wondering if it will hold up longer since it was picked fresh. I might put the ones that I want to grow into the garage to protect them from freezing that will rot them so much faster.

  10. Hello Frances, so lovely seeing how the pumpkin plants are growing, and so pleased to see your beautiful pictures. Here in my garden pumpkins are ready from January to March-April and as I throw many seeds to my compost too, they are sprouting now all over but have to control them though. Flowers are yellow and pumpkins are kind of very light grey outside.
    I love all your posts, so wonderful.
    MarΓ­a Cecilia

    Hi Maria, thanks. It sounds like you will have wonderful pumpkins yourself. You are too sweet. πŸ™‚

  11. commonweeder says:

    I’ve never seen so many pumpkins in so many colors. I have seen pumpkins rotting on myshelf however. I admire your ability to capture the trajectory of this lovely story in retrievable photos.

    Thanks, Pat. I should add a couple more, white and maybe the splotchy ones. One lesson learned here is to put a trivet under a pumpkin on a shelf. And maybe some plastic. The photos were taken over several months time. I was hoping to get a harvestable pumpkin and was thrilled it happened. It too often does not. πŸ™‚

  12. Lola says:

    Great post Frances. I love it. All those pumpkins, what beauty. Most time when attention is not given is when things turn out the best. Love the gourd too.
    Have you heard of or seen the “Kershaw”? Quite pretty & edible. I made pies from them just like pumpkin.

    Hi Lola, thanks so much. The ignore it style of gardening greatly appeals to me. I have heard of Kershaw before. At the farmer’s markets, the sellers would always say these made good pies, no matter the color. I have to admit that after one attempt at making a pie from scratch with a pumpkin, the canned stuff is just as good to me and so much easier. Lazy in the kitchen as well as the garden! HA πŸ™‚

  13. Rose says:

    And the gourd and the pumpkins lived happily ever after…
    An entertaining tale to read on this rainy, gloomy Friday morning while I supervise a classroom of sophomores translating a Spanish tale (no, I don’t speak Spanish).
    Can I ever relate to those rotten pumpkins! My kids have made fun of me in the past when frozen pumpkins and cadaverous-looking jack o’lanterns were still sitting on the front steps at Christmas time:)
    I was hoping for a pumpkin plant in the compost pile this year, but no such luck.

    Hi Rose, thanks for the ending! Supervising sophomores does not sound too appealing, glad you can be on the computer. I don’t know the secret to the germination of the pumpkin, maybe we need to keep them from freezing, since the blue ones were in the house, then the mudroom over the winter. I would love to have more of the yellow gourd, never seen that before.

  14. Carol says:

    Frances that is a lovely tale. I too can recall doing much the same thing when an escaping whiff of rot reached my nostrils… from a pumpkin needing to go out to the compost. Plants do so want to live and let live there offspring… your photos illustrate your story so well and what gorgeous pumpkins you grew… they all seem to get on splendidly on your patio. Quite beautiful all. I just read a story where someone placed hundreds if not thousands of pumpkins to read ‘Ari Will You Marry Me?’ in a farmers field in Massachusetts… when the couple went on a climb the soon to be bride saw it and cried… how could she refuse? Another pumpkin tale.

    Thanks, Carol. I could not tell where that smell was coming from for the longest time, kept blaming the cats and sniffing all over the place. HA I love the proposal spelled out in pumpking, how wonderful! πŸ™‚

  15. brokenbeat says:

    i kept thinking the whole time i was reading your happy little autumn tale … among the pumpkins and gourd, there was much rejoicing. not sure why, but there it is. much love.

    Hello dear Brokenbeat, and thanks. It is a happy story and the pumpkins on the benches look very full of joy as I gaze out at them from the lazyboy. Hope they are still firm and happy when you come here for Thanksgiving. πŸ™‚
    Love, Frances

  16. Lzyjo says:

    What a lovely tale, Frances. Gorgeous pumpkins, love the variety!

    Hi Lzyjo, thanks. There are so many delightful colors and sizes for sale anymore. I love them all! πŸ™‚

  17. Darla says:

    Oh Frances I was playing around with wordpress..think I may have signed up for blog and now I don’t know how to delete it…

    Hi Darla, thanks for letting me know. Somehow wordpress wants to use that as your url. You might have to log out for it to stop. I wouldn’t delete the blog though. Someday you might want to use it and it will save the blog name you want. I really like wordpress, but it took a lot of learning new things to get the hang of it. One thing I really like is being able to answer the comments in the same space.

  18. Hello Frances,

    Thank you for a wonderfully illustrated depiction of a pumpkin’s life story.

    HA Noelle, thanks so much. Sort of cradle to almost grave. Maybe next year will be part two. πŸ™‚

  19. marmee says:

    i love when happy accidents happen…love all the pumpkins you have and your gourd.
    this is the best season for celebrating life.
    happy autumn.

    Thanks Marmee. I know how you love fall, me too. πŸ™‚

  20. Balisha says:

    Hi Frances,
    You had me from the title of this post. I love a good tale.

    Thanks Balisha. Pumpkins deserve to have their story told. Especially this one, glad you enjoyed it. πŸ™‚

  21. Catherine says:

    How nice that the blue and green ones were the ones to germinate and grow! I’ve never seen a blue pumpkin, might have to go looking for one. Will you try growing them again on purpose or try the method you used last year πŸ™‚

    Hi Catherine, thanks. Each year there seem to be more exotic colors and shapes in the pumpkins on offer at the local markets. I love that there is more than orange. I think I will stick with the method used last year and hope for the best. The yellow gourd might get special treatment however. πŸ™‚

  22. Jen says:

    I’m in love with those pretty blue pumpkins…..Jen

    Thanks, Jen. Me too. πŸ™‚

  23. Les says:

    There is nothing like the unmistakeable aroma of rotting cucurbit.

    HA Les, you are so right. I was not familiar with that smell, blaming the cats! Now I know, the reason the display is outside. πŸ™‚

  24. Gail says:

    Frances, Once upon a time there was a wonderful story teller who could work magic with her words. She was able to take a few pumpkin seeds, abracadrabra her magic wand over them, add delicious photos and voila~~ create a fantastic tale to make us smile. gail

    Thanks Gail, you are too sweet. You are quite the teller of tales yourself with mission impossible and good Queen Gaillardia! Brilliant, as always. πŸ™‚

  25. I have lust in my heart for your blue pumpkin! If only I had room for one plant…

    Hi MMD, thanks. The pumpkin plants take such an enormous amount of space to grow, more space than I have in the veggie bed for sure. Under the arbor and around the tall evergreens was a good place for it. I hope to save seeds from the blue for next year. None of this color were found at the markets this time around.

  26. Sweet Bay says:

    I love the first shot with the Muhlies and aster in the background. Really beautiful.

    Thanks Sweet Bay. The muhly is still hanging on, though with close inspection the color has faded considerably. Glad you enjoyed our fall display. πŸ™‚

  27. Robin says:

    I’ve never seen a blue pumpkin before! I love it! How cool that you had serendipity pumpkins!

    Hi Robin, thanks. The pumpkins that arose from the composted mush are special indeed. πŸ™‚

  28. Teresa says:

    Great pumpkins. They are such wonderful colors. It’s nice to get a gift from those smelly rotting pumpkins. It was the least they could do after making such a mess. The gourd is a great color too. Funny how sometimes you try and try to grow something, nurture, nurture and wait and then disappointment, but other times no effort needed at all and voila~ a beautiful pumpkin to enjoy. Enjoyed your post!

    Thanks Teresa. This is the best effort at pumpkin growing we have ever had. Usually the borers get into the vines and kill them. Maybe there were so many seeds that germinated the numbers were in our favor. πŸ™‚

  29. Tatyana says:

    Well, this is a story for children that is almost ready to be published. Although, why for children? I read it from A to Z and enjoyed it!

    Thanks so much Tatyana. I like simple stories with a happy ending too. Glad you liked it. πŸ™‚

  30. Daphne Gould says:

    I love all the different shapes and colors of your pumpkins. Plain orange is so boring. I wish my pumpkins would volunteer and do so well as yours. I’ve only gotten pumpkins to ripen one year then the dreaded squash vine borer drilled into the pumpkin. Yours come out and grow without help.

    Hi Daphne, thanks. That borer is a menace to the pumpkins here too. I think that there were so many seeds germinating he was overwhelmed by the numbers. It was iffy if the pumpkin would mature before frost killed the plant. Next year we need an earlier start. πŸ™‚

  31. Janie says:

    What a fantastic post! I love all those pumpkins! I have not caught the spirit of the season yet, but I think I still have time. Do you have seeds of that blue pumpkin?

    Hi Janie, thanks. The changing leaves and cooler temps have us in full fall mode here. I didn’t save any seeds, just threw the mush under the arbor. I hope the same can be done with this year’s harvest too. It would be a miracle if it did though. I am guessing a place like Baker Creek Seeds would carry unusual pumpkin seeds. πŸ™‚

  32. VW says:

    Chuckle, chuckle. The blue pumpkins is strange and fun. I really need to try some of those next year in our garden; the kiddos would think it such fun.

    Hi VW, thanks. I am hoping the pumpkin vine is still growing when the family comes for Thanksgiving. They will like seeing it too. πŸ™‚

  33. Racquel says:

    Cute story Frances! I guess alls well that ends well in the Faire Garden. πŸ™‚

    Thanks Racquel. I do like a happy ending, especially one that involves harvesting the goods. πŸ™‚

  34. ourfriendben says:

    Beautiful assortment, Frances, and yes, your blue pumpkin is outstanding! I love mixing and matching colors and shapes. But you’re right, we keep ours outdoors until it’s time to consign them to the chicken coop or compost bins—gack, the smell of rotting cucurbits! Last year, we had a wonderful volunteer in one bin that produced six beautiful small orange pumpkins, so we’ve augmented our display from our own hoard. And we’re trying to choose only edible ones and actually roast them for pumpkin bread and soup and such this year (I still want to try making pumpkin ravioli with brown butter-sage sauce!), which will be a first for us. (The chickens will still get the innards unless we happen to come upon one with hulless seeds for pepitas, though!). Congrats on a delightful story and a delightful display!

    Hi OFB, thanks. I learned the hard way about keeping them outside. Pumpkin ravioli sounds absolutely delectable! Your chickens are lucky to have such fare! πŸ™‚

  35. I’ve seen pergolas covered with gourds. They look spectacular hanging down.

    Is it nearly halloween already. Where did the time go?

    Hi Rob, that would be great. I fear the weight of the pumpkins would be dangerous for those walking underneath the arbor, they might have to have little hammocks to hold them. Maybe next year we can grow the little yellow gourds and let them hang down. The time is flying by so quickly. Time for me to get started on my Thanksgiving extravaganza when the whole family comes here. Hooray! πŸ™‚

  36. Joanne says:

    Ah Francis what a wonderful tale and lovely photos especially the last one with the garden behind.

    Hi Joanne, thanks. Glad you liked this little story. We do love pumpkins! πŸ™‚

  37. Victoria says:

    Lovely story, Frances. I guess you’re going to plant all your pumpkins that way now…

    Hi Victoria, thanks. Except for the part about letting them rot on the wooden shelves of the hutch, yes, I am. πŸ™‚

  38. lphop says:

    I could so see this where this story was leading, Frances! That’s good that I’m getting to know you better..yes? πŸ˜‰ And this awesome pumpkin should be called ‘Charlie Brown’…lol! Except it’s blue!

    Hi Lynn, thanks for paying such close attention to this and the other tales told here. I do appreciate an audience that is listening and learning. The pumpkin trying to climb the arbor was good fodder for a silly seasonal story. πŸ™‚

  39. lphop says:

    Uh-oh, just noticed because I started a word-press blog (not garden related) my address jumped directly there…so you know, it’s just me from lynn’sgarden πŸ˜‰ Can you send me your email? I have questions about wordpress..thanks, Frances!

    Hi Lynn, you are the second person that wordpress decided what link to leave on your comment. I know that google does that to me if I have logged in there, and must log out to use my wordpress url on comments at blogger hosted blogs. I will be glad to help you in any way I can, but I am not very techy. πŸ™‚

  40. Anna says:

    Your post has come as an excellent reminder that I must turn my one pumpkin into soup soon πŸ™‚ Isn’t it great that you can sometimes get happy and healthy plants by accident rather than by design. Love your outdoor seasonal display.

    Thanks Anna, glad you liked the pumpkins. This is the best luck I have ever had growing them, hope it works next year as well. πŸ™‚

  41. dirtynailz says:

    Frances, this post reminds me of how we gardeners are sensitive to the subtle intricacies of nature, while the non-gardening world whizzes by, oblivious to the amazing natural world. I always find the seed germination process miraculous, but it is even more so when you didn’t plant the seeds!
    A terrific post!


    Hi Cynthia, thanks for those insights. The non gardeners, or just those who don’t notice the natural world we live in, are really missing out. There is beauty everywhere we look, and wonder and magic. The whole thing is just mind boggling. These new pumpkins are certainly a special gift. πŸ™‚

  42. Francis, You are indeed a “good punkin!” This is quite an interesting post, as I’ve never seen such a variety of pumpkins! (and the one gourd). πŸ˜‰ Happy Fall!!

    Thanks so much Shady! That is a high compliment. Happiest of falls to you as well. πŸ™‚

  43. Jen says:

    Loved this post, Frances. Especially the “surprise” element- something green and round- will it turn orange? develop lumps and bumps? Give you some seeds for next year?!

    Thanks Jen. I don’t think the green one will turn orange, it’s parent was also green. I do have a warty one, new this year that might give us something special next fall. I plan to use the same planting method with this assortment and see what we get. πŸ™‚

  44. Diana says:

    Frances – what a lovely pumpkin tale you’ve woven for us all to see. You must be so proud of your pumpkins — they are prize winners for sure. They’d make their parents proud.

    Thanks Diana. I am quite proud of the pumpkins, although I had little to do with their success. That is the best part of the story! πŸ™‚

  45. Kari Lonning says:

    It is fun to see someone elses pumpkin vine reaching for the heights. Two of mine became dissatisfied with competing for light, so one grew to the top of an old rhodo. (12 ft up!) and the other decided to explore the lilacs, 5 feet in the air. What a delight they’ve been!

    P.S. please excuse the typos … I should have gone to bed earlier!

    Hi Kari, thanks and welcome. Don’t worry about the typos, wordpress lets me edit the comments so they have been fixed. Your pumpkins sound like hearty fellows. Hope you get some pumpkins from the vines too. πŸ™‚

  46. Chookie says:

    LOL at all the comments about the unusual blue pumpkin — Queensland Blue is the commonest variety here. I was thinking how pretty the big orangey ones were! We usually only see small orange ones. Just about to plant the seeds…

    That is funny, Chookie! The most common here by far are the big orange ones, much bigger than what I brought home. They are so heavy, I didn’t want to need help lifting them. Good luck on your own patch! πŸ™‚

  47. leavesnbloom says:

    What a great tale! and what a great display you had outside. I love seeing pictures like this – very country chic………. plus your garden Frances in the background looks so colourful. Those pink flume grasses in the background really catch my eye along with the Red Baron Grass. πŸ™‚

    Hi Rosie, thanks. The grasses in the fall are outstanding, the stars of the garden really. The pink muhly and the blood grass are nearing their cut down time here, for the new growth is already showing. Both are worth having if you are in the right zones for them. πŸ™‚

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