All Hallows’ Eve falls on 31st October each year and is the day before All Hallows’ or All Saints’ Day in the Christian calendar. The Church traditionally held a vigil on All Hallows’ Eve when worshippers would prepare themselves with prayers and fasting prior to the feast day itself. It is generally believed that many Hallowe’en traditions have evolved from the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, meaning ‘end of the summer’. This festival is believed to have been a celebration of the end of the harvest, and a time of preparation for the coming winter. It is also widely accepted that early church missionaries chose to hold a festival at this time of year in order to absorb existing Pagan practices into Christianity. All Hallow’s Eve is now popularly abbreviated to Halloween and commercialised beyond all recognition.
With my dahlias on the cusp of their demise (especially this pumpkin-coloured one, appropriately called ‘Happy Halloween) and the spontaneous purchase of a cute little squash, combining the two seemed to be the right thing to do, especially so near the end of October and All Hallows. The first frosts which will undoubtedly see off all the dahlias will also mark a point of no turning back with summer long since gone and autumn rapidly galloping ahead towards winter. Although there is still colour in the garden, as yesterday’s post shows, decay will soon set in with every cold night and visitation from Mr Frost and the fiery orange of these dahlias masks the brown-ness already creeping into some of the petals which will soon drop. The addition of sprigs of dark and sultry Salvia ‘Amistad’ blooms, almost-spent flowerheads of Sedum ‘Jose Aubergine’ and a stem of Iris foetidissima with its papery capsules and vibrant red seeds were chosen to highlight the impending darkness and decay of the time of year but sadly they can barely be seen on the photographs – or perhaps the fact they are skulking almost unseen amongst what seems like a bountiful harvest is appropriate after all…
The blooms are held in place with a frog pin in this black scalloped dish which came with a removable glass frog, the latter being of little use, and two or three blooms which had been knocked off their stems were placed around the base to hide bare stems. Also representing decay is this tiny doll’s head, dug up from the garden several years ago and not in any way ghoulish in this context. The little squash came from Aldi and was one of several different varieties they were offering, all most appealing and tactile, and I rather regret not buying more.
I hope those who grow dahlias have been able to cut more of their blooms before they got blackened by frost, but whether you have dahlias or not do take time to forage in your garden and bring something indoors to give you pleasure over the next week, whether you can pop it into a vase or other receptacle or not. We would love to see what you have found, so do share it with us by leaving the usual links to and from this post.
ps I have been on Jury Service for the last fortnight and everything else was inevitably put on hold as it such an all-consuming and mentally and physically tiring process, but nevertheless a great experience and one which I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to take part in