Friday, September 23, 2011


AUTUMN is here and it is time to PICK YOUR PUMPKIN!

Or… is it a GOURD or a SQUASH? Which is which? How can you know?

ALL can be a festive part of your fall decorations as all are members of the Cucurbitaceae or Cucumber family.

Gourds have been cultivated for thousands of years for their usefulness.  Pumpkins have a strongly-flavored, coarser flesh, while Squash usually have fine grained flesh of mild flavor, and hence are more suitable for baking and edible enjoyment!

I also tend to think of GOURDS as having harder or warty shells and a more unusual shape.  PUMPKINS tend to be rounder and plumper; and while the skin can be textured, most are smooth.  SQUASH also are fleshy and typically have a more unusual shape. 

Confused?  Don’t worry, just pick one you like!  Depending on size, expect to pay from $3 for small gourds to $30 for large pumpkins.  Several local nurseries, farmers' markets and grocery stores have excellent selections. 

Here are some of my favorites:

Kershaw - wonderfully variegated and works well with many colors!

Knucklehead - The texture of the warts are absolutely amazing!

Gooseneck or Swan - Graceful and elegant!
Looks wonderful with any fall flower! 

Warty - Gnarly and colorful and makes an impact!

Apple - Its shape gives it away. 
Consistent Green Color works well with yellows and purples!

One Too Many - is also variegated and resembles the Kershaw gourds.

New Moon - white, elegant and large.  Fall flowers pop against it!
Love it with silvers and purples!

Cinderella - Nice flatter shape makes it a good choice as a stacking pumpkin!

Peanut Shell - I love the texture of this pumpkin and think it is so unusual!

Fairy Tale - similar to Cinderella - but has more muted coloring.
Also an excellent stacking base!

Butternut - This squash is adorable and makes a good choice for smaller planters!

Blue Hubbard - Its shape and blue gray color blends well with many plantings!
I love it with reds!

Turk's Turban - I love how many colors are packed in this squash! 
Works with pale solid colors, such as white!

Acorn - Adorable and small. 
Tuck some into containers and planters with yellows to offer a dark contrast!

Jarradale - Another neutral gray which allows reds and oranges to stand out! 
Also stacks well!

Pair your gourds, pumpkins and squash with colorful marigolds, green and red lettuces and you will have a beautiful autumn decoration that can be enjoyed through Thanksgiving!

Photos Courtesy



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