a porch decorated with many many orange pumpkins

Going Full Gourd This Year

You can feel it in the crisp autumn air. We’re all abuzz with excitement. It’s nearly Halloween and if you look around the neighborhood, read the news, or talk to your friends and family, it seems like we are all planning to bring our “A” game this year! From over-the-top yard displays to candy chutes and clothes-line trick-or-treat delivery systems, we are pushing the boundaries of our imaginations so that we can celebrate like the bunch of grown-up kids we are!

Just like these parents who are serious about giving their kids a great Halloween. They invented a candy zip-line including a ghost that shoots down a cable to the street, delivering not only pieces of candy to trick-or-treaters, but also two cans of Bud Light to their parents. Clever!

Or this mom, who is going all out to create some amazing memories for her daughter by being a little extravagant this Halloween. "We let my daughter pick out three different costumes just to make up for all the chaos this year," she tells NPR.

Sure, we’re making up for the fact that most activities have been cancelled, but when we’re forced to get creative to make the holiday special, often that’s what makes it all the more fun and the memories all the more vivid and cherished.

Let's Give 'Em Pumpkin to Talk About.

Decorating is a way for neighbors to connect to each other, and “even go a little bit overboard” since other activities like parades and haunted houses have been canceled, according to The Buffalo News.

So why don’t we get those creative juices flowing and ramp up our autumn displays.

Meet Your Pumpkins

Choose just the right pumpkin for the job or pile them all up for a fun display. Come into any of our Al’s locations and bring home some seasonal spirit!

Howden Biggie is exactly that, a biggie. This attractive pumpkin has a large, true pumpkin shape and a dark orange color and it’s ideal for jack-o-lantern carving.

Magic Lantern has a slightly upright shape and very dark orange in color. It’s the perfect traditional pumpkin patch pumpkin!

Baby Boo is a pure white miniature pumpkin. These are essential to add color and a variety of size to any and all autumn displays.

Crystal star is a new white variety, large with a great pumpkin shape and perfect for carving.

Cotton Candy has a nice white exterior with sizes ranging from 5-12 lbs. Excellent for painting.

Cinderella is an attractive decorative pumpkin with deep reddish orange color. It adds whimsy and a variety of shape to your pumpkin display. They are also great for baked goods and desserts.

Blue Doll pumpkin has an exotic blue color to its blocky, deeply ribbed fruit. Add to your pumpkin collection to create interest for the eye or create a color block using only Blue Dolls and make a bold statement with your arrangement. The Blue Doll's flesh is also good for pies, soups or canning.

Warty makes an unusual addition to your decorations and a very spooky jack-o-lantern! The fun texture is sure to get a double take from trick-or-treaters!

From left to right: Magic Lantern, Crystal Star, Cinderella, Blue Doll, Warty Pumpkins.

No matter your style, decoration choices and trick-or-treating work-arounds, as we attempt to make these holidays special in 2020, we can all agree: Life Is Gourd.

Why are we so obsessed with houseplants these days? Filling every square inch of free surface area (near bright, indirect lighting, of course), crowding them ever closer so we can fit just one more?

Us houseplant owners can tell you exactly why we need “just one more”, even though it may remain a mystery to our loved ones.

I think nature, if we really look at it, gives us hope. Deborah Blum, editor of the Houghton Mifflin series, Best American Science and Nature Writing, says nature is a great teacher of resilience.

“Here’s what I find inspiring about nature: It’s stubbornness personified,” she says.

Spending the time to really stop and look at nature, the behavior of our plants and the ecosystem in our own backyards serves as a helpful reminder to look to nature as a guide for what we can do in times of uncertainty and hopelessness.

hands planting a tree into the ground

Have you ever planted a healthy shrub and then watch it struggle to survive? So much of that pain can be avoided if we follow the “right plant, right place” philosophy. This means that you decide not to fight the shade or sun in your garden, but choose the plant that will thrive in the existing conditions. “Right plant, right place” is sound advice that, if given and heeded early enough, prevents beginners from pulling their hair out.

During this time of year, we will even add to that prudent advice: “right plant, right place…at the right time! For those of us new to the gardening game, you may not realize that fall is the absolute best time for planting.

an array of fall plants and decor

Online shopping has become my favorite Covid pastime. After you’ve baked all the bread, organized the cupboards, and sewn a mask for everyone in your neighborhood, online shopping is right there waiting for you; ready whenever you are. It is a welcomed change after having to make so many other adjustments around store closures, distancing rules, and sanitation procedures.

I’ll admit to having a bit of container envy. Just a twinge of jealousy as I walk by a lavish and lush arrangement of seasonal plants perfect for thrilling guests at the front door. Unfortunately, my DIY skills are lacking in this department. I walk through the garden center and see so many choices, but I wonder: What’s the secret to a gorgeous container?

young children in a row tending to a vegetable garden

For some of us, wrapping our heads around this different kind of ‘Back to School’ season is tough. Sure we’re getting back to schedules and routine, back to deadlines and homework, but with hours of screen time during online learning and then hours of unfilled time where there used to be extracurricular activities and sports, it’s going to be an adjustment. Not to mention all of that “togetherness” without a break! Do you have a plan to keep the little ones occupied and engaged? How are you going to keep the days from running into each other?

A before and after shot of a backyard makover

Follow along as a landscape design professional shares her design principles, common mistakes homeowners make, and tips you can borrow to add that special something to your own backyard redesign.

Imagine, if you will, a perfectly fine yard, yet no one is out there enjoying it. That was the problem that Elida Rivera, Designer at All Oregon Landscaping Inc. was faced with when she started her backyard makeover for one of her clients. This busy family in Lake Oswego wanted their entire family to take full advantage of their outdoor space that was not being used at all at the time.

Colorful Swiss chard growing in a garden bed

This one goes out to all you new gardeners, as well as some of those “fair-weathered” gardeners cleaning out your vegetable beds and putting away your tools for the season. Is that you? Are you enjoying your tomatoes? Have you been sharing your bounty with your neighbors, whether they want it or not? Good! These are the gifts of summer. Enjoy this moment.

In 2005 Al's Garden and Home opened our Sherwood store, a 10.5-acre state-of-the-art garden center filled with annuals, perennials, nursery stock, fountains, pottery, garden supplies, and a high-end gift department.