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Arts & Culture

Autumn At The Arboretum: Pumpkins And Gourds And Squash, Oh My!

It takes 50 well-trained professionals three full weeks to flip the calendar from summer to autumn at the Dallas arboretum. Creating a pumpkin village that spans an entire acre doesn’t happen overnight. The exhibit opens Saturday, Sept. 20.

“We actually have 65,000 thousand pumpkins, squash and gourds in our displays here in the pumpkin village and throughout the arboretum gardens as well this year,” says vice president of gardens Dave Forehand. “So the most we’ve ever had.”

Forehand says it takes 12 tractor trailers to haul in all the fall.

And the final product is dramatic. Four whimsical pumpkin houses, Cinderella’s carriage pulled by corn stalk horses, a foot-bridge arching over a “river” made of blue-grey Jarrahdale pumpkins. Forehand says those are his favorite.

“And it’s the best eating pumpkin too, so if you actually want to cook, that’s the one to get,” Forehand says. “Most people don’t realize the blue one is the good one for cooking.”

Credit Courtney Collins
Nicholas Chance, 10, shows off a uniquely shaped gourd.

In true 10 year-old fashion, Nicholas Chance has chosen a gnarlier favorite.

“Probably the ones with lots of lumps, they’re cool looking,” says Nicholas.

The pumpkin pros actually call them “warts.” And the variety on display at the arboretum is called the Red Warty Hubbard.

While you might not think of the Lone Star State as a Fall Harvest mecca, everything in the pumpkin village was grown north of Lubbock in a little town called Floydada.

“That where all the pumpkins gourds and squash were grown is far West Texas. They have cool nights which are perfect for pumpkins,” says Forehand.

North Texas might be feeling those cool nights before long. Fall officially starts Monday.