For the past few years, in the time between the Epiphany and MLK Day, the pumpkins we set out in the yard after Thanksgiving finally deflate, broadcasting seeds into a corner of our yard for the next year’s patch of potential jack-o-lanterns. We watch as those vines yield breathtaking, bright orange flowers and then, lately, as the next Halloween tricks by us, wither without ever yielding pumpkins.
For two years now, our patch has been quick to tease and slow to yield. Despite the fact that male flowers and female flowers live on the same vine, they have been unable to pollinate each other. The swollen stamen remain unsatisfied by the pistils just inches away.