Plant of the Month September 2017

Gourds 1 .web

Long Handle Dipper Gourd Lagenaria siceraria is an ornamental gourd of the family Cucubitaceae. Also within this family are cucumbers, pumpkins and squashes.

Gourds have been grown for thousands of years for eating but in modern times have utilitarian or ornamental uses.

There are two varieties ; Lagenaria with hard skin, soft leaves and white flowers and Cucubita with soft skin, prickly leaves, yellow flowers and with multi-coloured fruit often warty. Both are tropical or subtropical in origin and not frost tolerant. To thrive they need full sun and copious water.

Lagenaria vines can grow to 15 feet or more and therefore best supported on a trellis. At Reveley they are planted in large containers in the cold frames and climb up mesh to form a tunnel between the cold frames and the greenhouse.

Gourds2.web

Now the unripe green gourds (a few already 2 feet long) hang down like bottles looking intriguing and decorative. When ripe they will turn brown and are ready to pick when the stems are dry and also brown. They then need careful storage as drying out takes at least six months. Warm, dry and well ventilated conditions are ideal. Frequent inspection to look for mould and regular turning must be carried out.

The dried gourds will then be ready to be crafted. This is very popular in the USA where they are often decorated, made into dippers and even reamed out to make nests for small birds.

 Previous Months

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

December 2016

November 2016

October 2016

September 2016

August 2016

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

© Bushey Museum Property Trust 2017