October 19, 2011

Festive Fall

Even in Vermont, many people do not raise vegetables or garden seriously, but in the fall they decorate their homes and businesses with the bright colors of the season. It seems to me to be a remnant of the past, a celebration of the harvest, with something as simple as placing a pumpkin in a flower border, here in front of a neighboring town's post office.

The intense colors of fall mums are everywhere, if just in a pot on a stoop. This gorgeous collection, along with an ornamental kale is in front of, believe it or not, the local Dunkin Donuts. I appreciate that they make an effort to have a lovely little flower border at their store.

Another favorite harvest symbol are corn stalks; in my town during its Fall Foliage Festival, they are tied to every post on the main street; here they add verve to a plain gray mailbox.

Some displays include stuffed figures, some of which look forward, as this one's face does, to Halloween. I have seen figures that don't seem related to Halloween though, and I wonder if this is a custom that goes back to something like scarecrows. If anyone knows about this, I'd appreciate any information.

And here, in front of my friend and neighbor Deborah's house, a pair of doggy sentinels stand guard with their baskets loaded with pumpkin. This cheerful front door is in keeping with her whimsical sensibility, which is in great evidence in her garden, which you can see here. As we get closer to Halloween, I'll enjoy seeing the homemade ghosts, ghouls and goblins, but now I'm happy with the pumpkins and corn and autumn chrysanthemums.


  1. This time of year I think we appreciate those last remmanents of color. No matter how it is displayed.

  2. Altoon, they're called harvest men or women or people -- it's a local tradition. I don't know if it goes back to England or southern New England, or if it's just here in northern Vermont, but there are always some around. Some years I make one, though not so often now that my kids are grown.

  3. Lisa, yes we certainly do appreciate the color, since we know what's coming.
    Susan, thank you so much for clearing that up. The figures I've seen, way before Halloween, seemed to be celebrating something else. A neighbor down the road usually has the bottom half of a body stuffed upside down in a milk can with the booted legs waving in air. They're all fun.

  4. Huh! I think when they're upside down, that's a sign that the household has a sense of humor.