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Gourds in Summer: The Sleeping Giant?

June 22, 2016 Leave a comment
Dr. David Hadbawnik

By Dr. David Hadbawnik

Dr. David Hadbawnik is Lankville’s premier authority on gourds.

You thought gourds were for autumn, the time of cider and the harvest and little people in funny hats. You thought – thanks to my previous column in THIS paper – gourds could be good for Christmas, as ornaments, gifts, holiday dream-scapes. But gourds in summer? If, perchance, the thought crossed your mind, like a big red pumpkin flying through the evening sky, no doubt you immediately dismissed it. Ridiculous! you thought.

You were wrong.

Gourds in summer are a gift, a gift I now wish to share with you. All it takes is a little love and a lot of ingenuity. You have to really want a summer gourd. Do you want it? Do you?

I thought so. Now that the idea is in your head, you can feel the love spreading out slowly, softly. Follow that love into the fields, near the meadows where a stream quietly trickles, nestling the banks with moisture. Find a rich, moist spot of ground and start digging.

Have you found anything yet? No? Keep digging.

Summer gourds don’t just jump out of the earth into your arms. It might take an hour. Three hours. Half a day. Oh, the times I’ve spent searching and digging for summer gourds. I could tell you some stories.

Let me just say that it’s always been worth it. When my fingers bump against that hardened green flesh, when I clear away the dirt and feel the shape of the gourd against the palm of my hand, when I finally pry it loose… Let me just say, it’s very satisfying indeed. Like finding a long-lost child. A child you never knew you had.

So keep digging, my friends, and find your summer gourd. They are out there, in the valleys and fields and dales, a summer giant waiting for your touch to free them. Enjoy!

Gourds in Spring: Breaking the Stigma

April 27, 2015 Leave a comment
Dr. David Hadbawnik

Dr. David Hadbawnik

David Hadbawnik is Lankville’s premier authority on pumpkins and gourds.

Recently, I set up some choice gourds from my collection at a nearby spring flower fair.

The response was, needless to say, decidedly negative.

“That is not a spring flower,” one woman balked. “Autumn called- they want their gourds back,” another scoffed. “Fuck you and your god damn gourds, you stupid pile of shit,” said still another.

I was hurt and discouraged. All the work I had done to promote year-round gourd awareness seemed lost on these women. After all, my spring and summer gardens feature as many as ten different beautiful gourds– everything from the spinning top to the speckled swan– and all as elegant and splendid as anything to be found in autumn!

The majestic beauty of a dangling gourd.

The majestic beauty of a dangling gourd.

“You can’t eat any of these summer gourds,” one woman proffered. “What the hell good are they?” While it’s not entirely true that no summer gourds are edible (the Eastern Hill Snake Gourd is delightful with tofu!), I felt that the woman was missing the point. The factor here is not food– the factor is FUN!

So, start your seeds indoors now to dodge the nighttime chill of April and transport your seedlings into the garden in early June. I prefer to utilize an A-frame trellis to allow my gourds space to climb (and also because I really like the look of gourds dangling down through a trellis) but you can also allow them to grow on the ground if that’s how you choose to live your life.

Dr. Hadbawnik’s pamphlet “Why I’m Right About Summer Gourds” is available for $5.95 plus shipping from The Lankville Daily News.

Gourds on Christmas? YES, WAY!

December 17, 2014 Leave a comment
By David Hadbawnik

By David Hadbawnik

David Hadbawnik is Lankville’s premier authority on pumpkins and gourds.

I know what you’re thinking. Gourds– they’re just for Halloween and Thanksgiving. Gourds on Christmas? Nope, too late, no dice, never in a million years. Plain and simple, NO WAY!

Detail of Hadbawnik's Nativity Scene which he doesn't want you to copy.

Detail of Hadbawnik’s Nativity Scene which he doesn’t want you to copy.

Well, I’m here to tell you something different. I’m here to tell you: YES, WAY!

Think about it. A typical bottle gourd with a smaller bulb on top makes for a perfect snowman or Santa Claus. You can even paint on a red hat or simply purchase or knit your own. Smaller gourds make ideal Christmas ornaments. You can paint cats on them. Or beautiful winter scenes. Or gingerbread cottages. Anything your mind can envision can be painted on your Christmas gourd.

For the advanced gourd-a-holic, try hollowing out the inside of your specimen and placing a beautiful LED light inside. I’ve had visitors say– “Jesus Christ, why is that gourd on fire?” I always laugh and tell them about the journey. Every gourd ornament is a little journey.

This year, I made a nativity scene (all out of gourds) and put it on top of my TV set. But feel free to do your own thing (actually, I’d prefer it if you didn’t do a nativity scene– that was my idea, after all). And remember, every gourd is a blank canvas. All it needs is you.