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5 Reasons Why Fall is the Best

We all love fall! Here's five reasons why we think this season is so special.

  1. Pansies and Violas. These quintessential fall and winter flowers brings the blooms from fall through early spring. Available in a multitude of shapes and sizes, pansies and violas are the perfect fall flower. Pansies offer a medium to large size bloom and will keep performing adding a burst of color when you need it. These tough little beauties pack a punch. Violas are the petite cousins of the pansy and are tougher in the face of cold and heat. No garden should be without them. The smaller flower will bloom all through the fall and winter. Because they are low growing plants, they are an excellent choice as flower bed borders. They are also perfect in seasonal pots and window boxes.
  2. Pumpkins and Gourds. From mini to large, to Cinderella pumpkins and apple gourds these fall favorites just scream fall. Whether you use them indoors or outdoors, pumpkins and gourds are a sure bet for fall decorating. Not just in the color orange, pumpkins and gourds can be anything from white, to green to even speckled.
  3. Jewel-tone Colors. These colors create the warm and cozy atmosphere in fall. From the bright red leaves to the bright purple mums, these saturated hues create the ambience of the season. Dynamic and bold, there is a place in every home for these colors. Choose from the deep purple amethyst mums to ruby red pansies, and you can experiment with pops of intense fall color.
  4. Halloween Décor. Spooky skeletons, whimsical pumpkins, lanterns and more set the stage for your trick-or-treaters. Decorating with the orange and the black, inside and out will add a festive fall flair to your home décor. It is simple just add a few Halloween touches and you can bring the spirit of fall alive.
  5. The Great Outdoors. Warm days and chilly nights, make being outdoors during the fall a must. Warm up by a fire pit or chimaneas or simply string festival lights to create cozy ambience. Whether you’re entertaining friends or just family, wearing a sweater and roasting marshmallows sets the stage for a perfect crisp autumn evening. Fire up the grill and enjoy an afternoon of football and fun.

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Decorating You'll Fall For

EASY FALL CURB APPEAL

We LOVE fall and everything that comes with it! Apple-picking, pumpkin patches, outdoor gatherings with family and friends, cooler temps, and of course… decorating! Looking for ways to spice up your front porch and celebrate autumn this year? Whether it's trick-or-treating, admiring the colorful leaves from a cozy chair or greeting family and friends, your front porch is a popular spot during fall. So as it takes center stage this season, here are a few porch-ready ideas to make your front stoop festive for guests or even passer-bys.

Pumpkins on the porch just say fall, and no porch is complete without them! Stack them in topiaries, paint them with faces or your initials to add a home-made touch or spray with metallic paint for a modern twist. Cluster small ones together and line larger ones up the steps to make a warm and welcoming entryway.

Mums in bright yellow, rustic red, deep orange, and even purple add a pop of color up steps or on your front porch. Pair with ornamental cabbage and grasses or succulents in your favorite containers and surround them with pumpkins and gourds to add interest.

Window boxes filled with the jeweled toned hues of the season make for a unique and interesting fall display. Add window boxes to one or more windows on the front of your home. Mix pumpkins and gourds in with mums and other fall blooms like ornamental cabbage and peppers, flowering kale or purple fountaingrass for a colorful and stunning fall display.

Classic metal or wooden lanterns are the perfect way to fill in those gaps on the porch during the day while providing a warm and inviting light source once the sun goes down. Remember to think outside the box when using lanterns. Fill them with flowers, gourds or petite pumpkins instead of a candle or light bulbs.

QUICK AND EASY TIP: Summer urns pull double-duty when filled with gourds, squash, and small pumpkins for a quick and easy front porch accent.

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Scarecrows Historically Speaking

by Kathy Warnes

For thousands of years scarecrows have helped humans save their crops from crows and other hungry mouths and provided an outlet for human creativity. Scarecrows are as old and as mysterious as human nature and have been useful friends to humans since the mists of early time.

A Brief History of Scarecrows

Scarecrow genealogy is rooted in a rural life style. The Egyptians used the first scarecrows in recorded history to use to protect wheat fields along the Nile River from flocks of quail. Egyptian farmers installed wooden frames in their fields and covered them with nets. Then they hid in the fields, scared the quail into the nets and took them home to eat for dinner.

Greek farmers in 2,500 B.C. carved wooden scarecrows to look like Priapus, the son of the god Dionysus and the goddess Aphrodite, who supposedly was ugly enough to scare birds away from the vineyards and ensure good harvests. They painted their wooden scarecrows purple and put a club in one hand to scare away the birds and a sickle in the other for a good harvest.

The Romans copied the Greek scarecrow custom and when Roman armies marched through the Europe they introduced Priapus scarecrows to the people there. Almost simultaneously with the Greeks and Romans, Japanese farmers made scarecrows to protect their rice fields. They made scarecrows called kakashis, shaped like people. They dressed the kakashis in a raincoat and a round straw hat and often added bows and arrows to make them look more threatening. Kojiki, the oldest surviving Japanese book compiled in the year 712, features a scarecrow known as Kuebiko who appears as a deity who can’t walk yet knows everything about the world..

In Germany, scarecrows were wooden and shaped to look like witches. Witch scarecrows were supposed to hasten the coming of spring. In medieval Britain, young boys and girls were used as live scarecrows or “bird scarers.” They would patrol the fields of crops and scare away birds by waving their arms or throwing stones. In later times, farmers stuffed sacks of straw, made faces of gourds, and leaned the straw man against pole to scare away birds.

New World Scarecrows

In the United States, immigrant German farmers made human looking scarecrows called “bootzamon,” which later changed to bogeyman. They were dressed in old clothes with a large red handkerchief around their necks.

Native American tribes across North America used scarecrows or bird scarers, mostly adult men. In Georgia, Creek Indian families moved into huts in their corn fields to protect their crops during the growing season. In the Southwest, Zuni children had contests to see who could make the scariest scarecrow.

Pilgrim families took turns guarding their fields against birds and animals, but as Americans expanded west they invented new kinds of nonhuman scarecrows like wooden and straw figures. During the Great Depression, scarecrows could be found all across America, but in the agri-business era after World War II, farmers sprayed or dusted their crops with chemicals like DDT until scientists discovered their harmful effects. To substitute for chemicals, some farmers built scarecrows like whirligigs that revolved like windmills to scare away the birds.

Modern Scarecrows

Scarecrows still guard fields around the world during the growing season. Today some farmers use technological scarecrows instead of straw and wooden figures, technological scarecrows like reflective film ribbons tied to plants to create shimmers from the sun or automatic noise guns that are powered by propane gas. Other farmers in India and some Arab countries, station old men in chairs to throw stones at birds to keep them away from the crops just like the medieval bird scarers.

Just a Few Scarecrows of the Imagination

Even though Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, by American author L. Frank Baum, admonishes her dog Toto, “Don’t be silly Toto, scarecrows don’t talk,” the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz does talk. In his first appearance in the book, he reveals that he doesn’t have a brain and wants more than anything else to acquire one. The reality is that he already has a brain, but since he is only two days old it is largely unused. As the story unfolds, he demonstrates that he does use his brain and it keeps growing along with his experiences. The scarecrow is symbolic because even though he has the title, “the wisest man in all of Oz,” he is wise enough to know his limitations. He continues to credit the Wizard for his brains and he hands over the throne of Oz that the Wizard bequeaths him to Princess Ozma. He becomes one of her trusted advisors, but carves out enough time for himself to play games and enjoy life.

Paul Cornell focuses on the sinister aspect of scarecrow evolution in his 1995 Doctor Who novel Human Nature, when he has his villains, the Family of Blood, create an army of scarecrows to try to capture the Time Lord.

Tim Preston, in his children’s book, The Lonely Scarecrow, sees a winter future for the scarecrow. He imagines that instead of dying in the fall after the festivals and fun of Halloween are over, the scarecrow is covered with snow in the winter and becomes a useful friend until he resumes his guard duties in the spring.

Scarecrows of the Future

Scarecrows have evolved along with people and people sponsor scarecrow festivals every year in places as diverse as West Kilbride, Scotland, St. Charles, Illinois, and Alberta, Canada. After the scarecrow festivals are over, both scarecrows and people enjoy a long, friendly, restful winter before they resume their more strenuous duties in the spring.

References: Brown, Margaret Wise, The Little Scarecrow Boy, Harper Collins, 2005
Miller, Marcianne, Creative Scarecrows: 35 Fun Figures for Your Yard and Garden, Lark Books, 2004.
Preston, Tim, The Lonely Scarecrow, Dutton Juvenile, 1st Edition, 1999

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