Magical Indian Summer
Looking for some interesting, fun information about late summer, autumn and Indian summer? About trees and their "colour factory"? About pumpkins, record pumpkins, a delicious pumpkin recipe or Halloween?
Click on the headlines you're interested in and enjoy the read.
About Indians and Indian Summers
Late summer is known in some countries as "Old Wives' Summer". Autumn, on the other hand, is called Indian Summer. When it arrives, the forests appear enchanted. With golden colour shades that turn to wonderful orange, red and vermilion, to aubergine, copper, ochre and brown and almost resemble an Indian chief's headdress. Could that be why the season is called "Indian Summer"? No one knows exactly. What we do know for sure is that the term was used for the first time in 1778 by the French-American writer St. John de Crèvecœur, who lived in Orange County (New York). There's a lot of speculation about what he may have had in mind. Some think he was referring to Indian mythology. One of their legends says that the blood of bears that have been slain runs into the soil, is absorbed by the trees and colours the leaves. Others, on the other hand, believe the term is based on the fact that Indian Summer was the Indians' main hunting season and harvest time for maize and pumpkins - it was, so to speak, their summer. Whatever the truth may be, Indian Summer is unrivalled in its beauty. Enjoy it!
You'll find DIY Indian summer deco tips HERE.
You will also find the magical Indian Summer atmosphere HERE.
What Indian summers and fashion have in commonIndian Summer or fashion, this is a time to be colourful! Especially for the unconventional Bohemian, whose style matches this season particularly well. Trendsetting pieces are daring and colourful with lots of passionate red, uplifting orange and mystical violet.
Pearls, feathers and long leather strings also look great, not forgetting flowers for the hair, of course. Very reminiscent of the Flower Power era of the late sixties or Frida Kahlo's iconic flower crowns! Whatever, it's definitely a very charming look. It also expresses the courage to break out of traditional patterns and enjoy the moment, carefree and fun-loving. Life is beautiful after all – and especially so during an Indian summer!
Not a Bohemian? Browse our other fashion types HERE.
Prefer flowers for a vase rather than for your hair? Click HERE.
Autumn is a woman
The magical transition from summer to glorious autumn colours never ceases to be a thrill. It also seems to stir the imagination. Because the names that have been found for it over the centuries – in German at least – range from "Girls' Summer" through "Women's Summer" and "Widows' Summer" to "Old Wives' Summer". It does make you wonder why people always chose feminine names for it. The explanation is simple. They're derived from threads with which young weaver spiders sail through the air in the autumn. The gossamer threads produced by these spiders for their flights are reminiscent of spun yarn. And spinning was a task that was mainly performed by women.
The season is also called "Old Wives' Summer" in Hungary, Poland and Russia. In contrast, for the Finns it is the "Season of Turning Brown". The most romantic are the Japanese. They call this season "Little Spring" (koharu) and find it so lovely that they take time out to visit countryside and parks where the colours are particularly beautiful. Wouldn't that be a rewarding experience for us as well? Do try it. We wish you an unforgettable walk!
We're romantics too. You'll find our inspirations HERE.
Trees and their "colour factory"
Chlorophyll is important to plants. They use it to capture the sunlight they need in order to grow. When the tree sends chlorophyll to its roots from late summer on, it is storing a source of energy that it can "tap" in the spring in order to grow leaves again. During the summer, the green leaf pigment chlorophyll conceals other pigments. When the chlorophyll gradually disappears in the Indian Summer, yellow to red carotenoids and yellow xanthophylls come into their own, creating the autumn colours.
From late summer onwards, forests are so brightly coloured because the trees take a break in winter and go into hibernation. When the days grow shorter and the nights cooler, the trees draw valuable chlorophyll from their leaves and pass it down to their roots.
The intensity of these colours may depend on the temperature. If the nights turn cold early in the autumn, the chlorophyll is carried away quickly and only the glowing colours are to be seen. So now you know!
The symbolism of the colours of flowers is HERE.
You'll find our late summer dreams HERE.
Deciduous trees are detoxing now
When deciduous trees shed their leaves in the autumn, they do it to protect themselves. Water would continue to evaporate through the leaves in the winter sunshine. Since, however, the water in the ground freezes in winter, the tree's water supply would no longer be guaranteed. The plant therefore develops phytohormones and sends them to its leaf stalks. The hormones cause an abscission (separation) layer to form there. It becomes corky and the leaves fall off. The tree forms external protection by means of the corky seal at the base of the petiole (the stalk that joins the leaf to the stem). It prevents pathogens such as bacteria or fungi from penetrating. Dropping leaves is also a detox process. Together with its leaves, the tree also sheds toxins that have concentrated there in the course of the summer (e. g. environmental toxins).
Last but not least, bare trees are better able to withstand the weight of snow in the winter. And another thing: the open canopy makes it possible for early flowers such as anemones, wild garlic and lesser celandine to get sufficient light at ground level.
Our plants don't lose their leaves in autumn. The shop is HERE.
What gives us moments of happiness?
What makes us happy: a cheeky sunbeam that tickles our nose? An affectionate hug? Our children's laughter? Or the fantastic autumn colours of the forests? One thing is certain: family and children are the most frequent source of happy moments. However, nature comes in second place. We found that out when we asked you when you feel happy. Some of the many responses also related to this season.
Here are some examples:
"I feel happy when the summer heat gives way to the wonderfully cool late summer days".
Or: "I'm happy in the Indian Summer when I can stroll among rustling leaves and admire the incredible blaze of colours".
The following answer had nothing to do with nature: "I feel happy and privileged that we live in Switzerland, with no wars, no famines. And happiness to me is also when you are able to get up every morning in good health". Makes you think, doesn't it?
27 September 2018: it's cool to say thank you!
One often feels grateful without necessarily showing it. That's probably why an official "Thank You Day" was created back in the 1990s. Held every year on the last Thursday of September, there's not much to explain – the name says it all!
This special day exists to say an official thank you for all the little services of friendship that we sometimes take for granted: for looking after the kids, watering the flowers, taking the time to listen, for showing sympathy, for a dependable shoulder to lean on, for a calming influence when we are all at sea, for feeding the cat, going walkies with the dog, and and and....! Flowers? They're the icing on the cake. A sunflower or dahlia, a rose or an autumn bouquet are quite simply irresistible when presented with a heartfelt thank you!
See how to say "Thank you" in 74 languages HERE.
Looking for a charming way to express your thanks? See our suggestions HERE.
Gift someone a heartfelt thank you! Browse the store HERE.
Pumpkins rank amongst the oldest cultivated plants in the world. It was long assumed that they were grown as far back as 7000 years ago. In fact, the latest seed findings indicate that the Indios of Central America first planted them some 10,000 years ago. They were harvested as food, of course, but also for making jars and, later on, even musical instruments.
Talking of musical instruments: these were made mainly with the calabash, or bottle gourd. These plants came from the tropical regions of Central Africa. From there, they were carried to America on ocean currents, but also arrived in Egypt around 2500 BC via trade routes. That is where the Romans discovered them at the beginning of our era, calling them “cucurbitae”. The term is quite close to the German for pumpkin, “Kürbis“, and there may be a connection. But there is also the Latin word “corbis” for basket. It may be that the German word for pumpkin, which was also used for a container, was derived from that? After all, the Romans were also present on German soil at the beginning of our era. Who knows? Whatever, the Cucurbitaceae family is incredibly large, with over one hundred species and some 1000 varieties.
See HERE for flower-filled pumpkins, baskets and other arrangements.
Watch out for flying pumpkins
Not all pumpkins are edible. And as astonishing as it sounds, some non-edible varieties are used for pumpkin-throwing contests, or “punkin‘ chunkin” as they say in the United States. This curious sport was first played in Delaware in 1986. Every year on the first weekend after Halloween, Delaware hosts a World Championship attended by around 100 teams who rock up to launch pumpkins with slings, catapults and even pressurised cannons! It’s useful to know that the distance achieved depends not only on the machine used, but also on the speed of the wind and the type of pumpkin. The best pumpkins are apparently small and firm and look like cannonballs. One rule specifies that the pumpkin must be in one piece when it leaves the machine. How it should look when it returns to terra firma is not specified. Talking of distance: the longest throw ever measured from a pressurised cannon apparently exceeds 1690 metres.
See HERE for eye-catchers which are too cute to chuck into the distance.
Crazy: Record pumpkins – from tiny to gigantic!
There’s nothing new under the sun – not even when it comes to pumpkins. Or would you have believed that the smallest pumpkin is about the same size as a one euro coin, and derives from the “Spinning Gourd“ variety?
And then there are the giant pumpkins! A few years ago, a Swiss grower at the European Pumpkin Championship in Ludwigsburg broke the world record with a gigantic pumpkin weighing 1,054 kg. With a girth of 5.74 metres, it had to be hoisted onto the scales using a special machine. According to the local newspaper, this gardener from Zurich successfully grew no fewer than three such splendid mammoths in a single summer: heavier than an adult cow, as long as a small car. And all three broke a world record. The first, weighing 950.7 kg, at a competition in Berlin, the second, weighing 953.5 kg, at the Swiss Championship in Jona and the third, weighing 1,054 kg, in Ludwigsburg. Totally crazy, wouldn’t you agree?!
Read to break records for someone you love? Click HERE to go to the Shop.
Hot pumpkin soup recipe for cool evenings
Pumpkins have long been a firm favourite in the kitchen. And rightly so, because when the evenings get cooler, it’s “soup time” again. Here’s a recipe for a delicious pumpkin soup with white wine.
Ingredients for 4: 600 g pumpkin, cut into small cubes, butter, 1 onion, cubed, a pinch of grated ginger root, 2 dl liquid cream, 4 dl white wine (e.g. Riesling), 2 dl vegetable stock, 1 teaspoon curry powder, pepper to season.
Preparation: Sauté the onion and ginger in the butter. Add pumpkin, dust with curry powder and deglaze with the wine and stock. Cook until soft for approx. 20 minutes then purée with a hand blender. Add cream and season with pepper. Garnish with roasted pumpkin seeds and a little pumpkin oil if you wish. Enjoy!
By the way: according to specialists, pumpkin soup is great for people who tend to feel cold quickly because pumpkin warms you up from the inside. Seasoning with curry and ginger will reinforce the effect – both these spices stimulate heat production through thermogenesis.
See HERE for DIY Indian summer deco tips.
Check out our flower suggestions for the perfect dinner HERE.
Halloween: horribly fun!
It's Halloween on 31 October and many folks begin looking forward to their party weeks in advance. Some are bold enough go out disguised as a skeleton or zombie, others are happy simply to carve a funny face out of a pumpkin and put it in front of the house. But what's the origin behind this tradition?
Well, in the Celtic calendar year, 31 October marked the beginning of winter and witches' New Year. It was also said that the dead came back to recover their bodies on this day. And so people dressed up in disguise as protection against ghoulish ghosts and the wandering souls of the dead.
Today's "Trick or Treat" is a mix of this tradition with a custom from 9th century Ireland called "souling", which involved going from door to door and singing something at each home in the hope of being given a piece of "soul cake". For each soul cake given or received, a soul was released from purgatory. The custom spread to America with the emigrants. And from there – divorced from any religious background – it reached continental Europe. In the meantime, going from door to door to beg for sweets and treats, decorative pumpkins and cosy Halloween parties have also become very popular here.
Browse our decorative flower-filled party pumpkins HERE.