The Connection Between Fall Equinox and Farmers

The Fall Equinox of 2016 is this Thursday, September 22nd, and is one of the most significant days of the year for the farmer.  Everything about the Fall Equinox revolves around farmers and their bounty.  It makes sense doesn't it? Our ancestors' survival absolutely depended upon their crops, and their winter survival was determined by their fall-season harvest. 

Fall Equinox Farmers
These agricultural aspects of the Autumnal Equinox are celebrated in one way or another by almost every culture on earth:
  •  In China, they celebrate the equinox with the Moon Festival, a traditional celebration that dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) which is dedicated to celebrating the abundance of summer's harvest.  
  • In Korea, they have Chuseok, a major harvest festival and three-day holiday in which people travel to their hometowns to pay respects to their ancestors, to whom successful harvest crops are attributed.  
  • In Europe and elsewhere, there are traditional harvest festivals around the September full moon, celebrations of Pomona (goddess of fruits and growing things), and neo-pagans celebrate Mabon, a harvest celebration encouraging people to reflect on the year and "reap what they sow."
Fall Flowers Royal Lilies
This fall, we are reaping heaps of autumn-hued Royal Lilies
In the same week of the Autumnal Equinox comes the full moon of September, called the Harvest Moon (and also, the Full Corn Moon).  Again, in the theme of changing seasons, the Harvest Moon is named for late-summer harvest, and was believed to be the brightest full moons of all (by the way, it's not)--so bright, in fact, that farmers could work by the light of it.
Harvest Moon Fall Equinox
Harvest Moon
Regardless of location, culture, and semantics, what all these Autumnal Equinox festivals have in common is the celebration of the end-of-summer harvest, reflection of what crops, projects, or ideas did or did not come to fruition, as well as preparation for the coming winter.  It is a time to give thanks for the sunlight of summer as well as respect the shift to the darkness of winter. 

In the flower world, the Autumnal Equinox is a time for us to express gratitude and honor a moment of balance as night and day stand in mostly equal duration.  So what crops are we celebrating here at Sun Valley? What are we currently reaping which we sowed weeks and weeks ago?
Fall SLT French Tulips Sun Valley
Fall French Tulips

Clearwater Tulip Fall Equinox
Clearwater Tulip
Well, we are forever thankful for our fresh Fall French tulips, made possible only through our bulb connections with our Southern Hemisphere partners (who are about to go through their Spring Equinox, a whole other seasonal celebration).  One French Tulip that we are really celebrating is our pristine, white Clearwater Tulips, which look like little full harvest moons atop strong, green stems.

In Oxnard, the heat and light of the dry Southern California summer has given us our second flush of lovely, layered Lisianthus.  We planted the original plugs about a year ago, and it's wonderful to see this beautiful crop come full circle.

Lisianthus in fall

And of course, our Royal Lilies (LA Hybrids) are perfect for fall, coming in the warm oranges, yellow and reds that everyone loves for their autumnal bouquets.  We have been picking these for several weeks and will continue through the end of the year! 

Royal Lilies LA Hybrid Fall Colors

After the Autumnal Equinox, the days will get shorter until the winter solstice in December, and the light will begin its slow journey back to spring and summer days.  And while we flower farmers don't work by the light of the Harvest Moon, we will be doing our planting and picking by the light of the greenhouse while the Autumn Moon shines on. Happy Fall!

Sun Valley Greenhouse in Autumn

Fall Equinox Lady Aster

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