Pumpkins? Squash? Gourds? Oh My!
Autumn at the Arboretum and the “Wonderful Wizard of Oz”-inspired Pumpkin Village feature over 50 varieties of amazing pumpkins, squash and gourds. It took our talented horticulture team hundreds of hours over three weeks to turn 90,000 of these pumpkins into our best Pumpkin Village yet.
And these pumpkin varieties are themselves incredibly interesting. Individuals in this mix include a pumpkin variety that has been farmed exclusively in one Italian village for centuries, one that is probably what you get if you buy canned pumpkin at the grocery store, one with skin that looks like the outside of a peanut and more. We have them all on special display in Pecan Grove so you can get to know them, and also offer a fun Pumpkin Search (download it here or ask for a copy at the information booth) to make your visit even more engaging.
One thing that might surprise you is how many of these pumpkins, squash and gourds are not just edible, but of a very high, highly delicious quality.
Here are some of VP of Gardens Dave Forehand’s favorite edible varieties that you can find in our displays:
- Table Ace: This is an acorn-type squash. This variety is very sweet, thanks to high sugar content. It is great baked and served hot.
Marina de Chioggia: This is an heirloom winter squash that comes from the small Italian seaside village of Chioggia. This squash has a shiny aquamarine-green color with very bumpy skin. It looks great in a display. The dry, sweet flesh is ideal for Italian recipes that call for squash.
- Speckled Hound: Some mistake this squash for a pumpkin. It has a sweet nutty flavor, and has green and light orange mottled skin that is beautiful in display and so good to eat.
- Pink Banana: This large, heirloom variety of squash has a beautiful smooth pink outer skin. The flesh is very versatile and can be used for many squash dishes. It can grow up to a weight of 50 pounds, so one fruit can serve a crowd.
- Triamble: Another bluish-gray colored squash. This is an heirloom variety from Australia. The flavor is great and it adds a lot to a decorative display.
- Naples: as the name implies, this is another Italian variety. This heirloom can produce large, long, slender fruits weighing up to 40 pounds. It has a rich sweet flavor.
Jarrahdale: Probably my favorite variety to use in cooking, this one comes to us from the town Jarrahdale in New Zealand. It is beautiful in display with its steely-blue color. The flesh is dark orange and so good to eat.
If you decide to visit your local farmers market to create your very own beautiful, edible, seasonal display based on what you see at the Autumn at the Arboretum, be sure to share it on social media and tag us so we can all enjoy your handiwork.