Oh my Gourd ..!

It was time for the Autumn Plant Fair at Helmingham Hall in Suffolk this weekend – so I gathered up my photography gear and made my way there with great anticipation of looking around the stalls plus visiting the glorious walled garden …

I have never visited at this time of year before and it was was wonderful to see how the herbaceous borders had progressed since my visit early last month. The borders were still full of colour, yet had the added interest of seed heads and the muted yellow tones typical of late-summer.

Many visitors came and went whilst I passed a delightful afternoon wandering around the garden. By far the most talked-about feature was the tunnel of ornamental squashes, or gourds – which were providing an amazing display of colours and shapes to delight young and old alike …

The plants had been trained up and over a wrought iron arched tunnel that stretched for some 30 foot, with many hanging from its roof  like multi-coloured lanterns. As it was so popular, I was only able to take some quick hand-held shots as I moved through the tunnel – and so I decided to station myself at strategic points along the outside. I was able to get some close-up shots of as many different fruits as possible, without getting in anybody’s way.

Some were smooth and egg-shaped, others looked almost alien with their weird ridges and projections. There were cute, skittle-shaped fruits in green and yellow – that many people commented would look suitable for hanging on their Christmas trees. Gnarly orange fruits with warts and bumps drew mixed reactions – although no one could deny that they were fascinating …

I lapped up my slow progress along the full length of the gourds, enjoying listening and chatting to all the excited people who walked through this curiously strange and ‘whimsical’ tunnel. I’ve been inspired to construct a wigwam with my hazel branches next year to produce a more modest version of this amazing feature. I believe lots of people left Helmingham Hall with similar ideas !

It certainly ‘made’ my afternoon – I hope that you enjoy my images …

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