Tuesday, October 09, 2007


I put my apron on after my morning walk.
I had work to do.
It is time to harvest the bittersweet.
I paused to watch the Painted Ladies in the front zinnias.
Three were feeding with the Skippers and the Monarchs.
I looked closely at their colors of brown and orange.
I could smell the basil as I approached the bittersweet.
I had planted seven different types this year in the basil garden.
I have been harvesting for two weeks now.
Some will go to seed for next year.
The bittersweet was nipped in April's freeze.
I was not sure I would have many berries.
Tucked under new vine growth I saw plenty for my candle holder.
I wanted fresh vines so I could twist them through the wrought iron.
The berries will open over night.
I will wrap the arrangement carefully for next year.
Last year's bittersweet door swag went to the mantle.
It is very dry now. I will let it go after Halloween.
Next year I will make a new one.


Sheila said...

The colours of Autumn warm the heart. The bittersweet and the gourds are a lovely part of the season. It never lasts long enough for me..!

Catherine said...

beautiful post Q, & photo's..I love your pumkin gourds..how adorable!! I'm also wondering what I will do when the butterflies are gone..:(
Stop by & visit when you have time, I have passed an award on to you!
Have a great day!

~Red Tin Heart~ said...

I really like the painted gourds! It is sorta sad to see summer go. But, I really love the fall and winter too. xoxo Nita

Sprite said...


Mmmm, the smell of basil is just so wonderful!

I adore your bittersweet candle holder and the vines wrapped around. It's so beautiful!

Your gourd pumpkins are wonderful, and Oooo~ the one on the left is spooky with it's little hands and fingers reaching.

October Blessings~

PAT said...

I love Bittersweet Sherry. It brings back childhood memories of my Granny decorating with Bittersweet all fall and into the Holidays.


smilnsigh said...

I love the bittersweet. And I also love that gourd on the left hand side. Precious! Looks like little arms and hands. :-)


Q said...

Dear Sheila,
I agree, Autumn never seems to last long enough. Last year I grew a gourd in the wrought iron candle holder. I brought all the vines in and had them on the countertop. This year I put an amber insert tea light holder in the center. The bittersweet will open and be pretty. I have many baskets of gourds on the deck and in the gardens. I did not grow them this year since I had so many from past years. Bittersweet and gourds do say October!

Q said...

Dear Catherine,
Thank you for the smiles award.
The Jack-o-lantern gourds were fun to do! My husband helped.
We will miss the butterflies. Once the gardens go to rest we will have to plan what we will plant next year.
I always enjoy your photos and your journal!
Thanks again,

Q said...

Dear Nita,
First frost usually comes to my gardens around the middle of October. After that I have cleaning up to do and bedding down the gardens for winter. Lots of work to do in a short period of time. I too love the cool mornings and evenings of Autumn.
I dyed the gourds! I put them in a dye bath and after they dried my husband used a dremel tool to cut the faces. we had fun doing these.
I really enjoy October decorating.

Q said...

Dear Sprite,
Basil is so yummy! I make pesto with mine for winter sauces.
Jack-o-lantern gourds are two of my favorite Halloween decorations.

Q said...

Dear Pat,
Years ago I would gather my bittersweet down by the lake house at the Lake of the Ozarks. Someone had the idea to spray the roadways and kill all the wild flowers and vines. No more bittersweet!
I started growing my own. Now every year I go to the backyard and gather what I need.
I too love it.

Q said...

Dear Mari-Nanci,
I have so many sweet October things about in the house. The gourds are extra special. Not only did I grow them and dry them but my husband and I had much fun doing them up!
The bittersweet really took off. It out grew its first trellis and my husband built another for it. It is lovely. The birds like all the nesting spots too.

Anonymous said...

You are a lucky gardener indeed. Not one berry on my bittersweet this year.

Love your pictues.

Lisa at Greenbow

Naturegirl said...

How our butterflies leave such an impression on our souls..I shall probably visit the conservatory often..we can always count on our fine feathered friends to amuse us all year round.still resting NG

Karen Owen said...

As always, your photos and comments inspire me!


Q said...

Dear Lisa,
I was very pleased to find enough berries to do my candle holder. Did the April freeze get your bittersweet too? I lost many mums but some made it. It will take a year for the gardens to recoup from the too early Spring of 2007.
Hopefully your bittersweet will bloom next spring and you will have boughs of berries for your Fall decorating. As gardeners we always look to next year. We are hopeful people.

Q said...

Dear Naturegirl,
Going to the Conservatory will be ever so nice this winter. The butterflies are exquisite creatures.
Glad to know you are resting and healing.
The birds do bring much joy into each day. I look forward to the cooler days when I can sit comfortably on the deck and commune with the birds.

Q said...

Dear Karen,
Thank you. I seem to need inspiration daily! The butterflies can do that for me in a heartbeat.
I was very pleased with the way the candle holder turned out. Last night I watched the candle light from it dance. Light also inspires me.

Deb said...

Beautiful bittersweet & gourds. I have bittersweet wrapped all around the top of my fireplace mantle. Will you turn your gourds into bird feeders again this year Q - I loved that idea when you posted it last winter :-} I hope to try it myself this year. Thank you for the wonderful idea.

Chrissie said...

Your gourds look fun :-)

Q said...

Dear Deb,
I could! I have many baskets filled with dried gourds. Right now I have them sitting about in different gardens and on the deck.
Making them into bird houses and feeders is a fun family project.
Gourds make excellent "pots" too for the little divided perennials we often share with friends. The gourd can be planted right into the ground and the perennial will take root. I have done this with mums in the past.
Bittersweet is so pretty. The berries I cut yesterday did open overnight.
Having bittersweet across your mantel must look exquiste!

Q said...

Dear Chris,
They are fun to grow and to do up!
I used to do all sorts of wild crafting and garden art. Gourds were the type of plant I could grow every five years and have plenty for all my projects.