The wonderful thing about this time of year is the harvesting of crops we’ve tended all year. This week the team on the Trials Field have been gathering in a range of pumpkins and squashes.
Most of our pumpkins are for the Taste of Autumn celebrations 17-20th October http://rhs.org.uk/WhatsOn/gardens/wisley/taste-of-autumn.html
for children to be creative with, with football sized cultivars such as ‘Touch of Autumn’ and ‘Paintball’.
Amongst the other 40 or so cultivars are well-known large ones like ‘Atlantic Giant’, unusual ones like ‘Snowman’ and odd ones like ‘Jumbo Pink Banana’.
We’re also conducting a butternut squash trial, with the aim of establishing which cultivars will ripen consistently in a poor British summer – how fortuitous that we’ve had such a summer this year! This will hopefully be reflected in the AGMs that will be assessed shortly. From what we’ve seen so far, cultivars such as ‘Hunter’ and ‘Harrier’ that produce smaller yet consistent fruits tend to be more uniform than the larger ones such as ‘Avalon’, something for both the domestic and commercial grower to bear in mind.
You will get the chance to see our diverse range of pumpkins and squashes at various events this autumn. Some will go to Hyde Hall and Harlow Carr, some to London shows and Malvern, some to the Wisley Plant Centre, and of course our own Taste of Autumn show. And after that you might even get the chance to eat one!
N.B. not all these cultivars are available on the open market yet, although it is a condition of the AGM (Award of Garden Merit) that they are readily available for anyone to buy.