Inside The New York Botanical Garden

Giant Pumpkins 2011

Not Your Average Pumpkin

Posted in Gardening Tips on November 1 2011, by Sonia Uyterhoeven

giant pumpkin
A giant pumpkin displayed just before carving. (Photo by Ivo. M. Vermeulen)

For the past two weekends, The New York Botanical Garden has been abuzz with the return of the giant pumpkins. We had four mega pumpkins shipped in from different parts of the U.S. and Canada. Their weight ranged from 1,693 to 1,818.5 lbs. With colors ranging from a cheerful orange hue to pale orange, green, and silver gray, it made for a fascinating variety of size and color.

They were all reclining on multiple bales of hay like Ingres’s Odalisque in a somewhat regal and enticing fashion, surrounded by a harem of smaller heirloom pumpkins and gourds.

Before the exhibition opened, I arrived early one morning to see the pumpkin aficionados carve an opening in the back of the pumpkin and carefully remove all the seeds. De-seeding the pumpkins is an integral part of the process. Not surprisingly, the seeds are jumbo sized, just like their parents. Seeds of these record-sized pumpkins go to an auction where they are generally sold for $300 a seed. Just last year one of the seeds sold for $1,600.

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This Just In – Breaking Giant Pumpkin Spider News!

Posted in Around the Garden, People on October 27 2011, by Rustin Dwyer

Breaking developments in the world of giant pumpkin spiders! — How often do you get to write a sentence like that in all seriousness?

Artist Michael Natiello will be here this weekend carving up one of the world’s largest pumpkins. (You might know him as the man behind the Great Jack ‘O Lantern Blaze as well as the Haunted Pumpkin Garden here in the Children’s Adventure Garden).

That’s not the breaking news, though.

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Great Gruesome Gourds – More Spooky Carvings to Come!

Posted in Around the Garden, Exhibitions, Video on October 26 2011, by Rustin Dwyer

Ray Villafane, Michael Natiello and ZombiesWe’re still basking the freakish glow of superstar sculptor Ray Villafane’s (on the right in this photo) wild zombie sculpture he constructed at the Garden using two of the world’s largest pumpkins. But by no means are the creepy carvings over with! This weekend will feature the supremely talented artist Michael Natiello (under the zombie’s hand)–the brains behind the spectacular Great Jack ‘O Lantern Blaze as well as our Haunted Pumpkin Garden here in the Children’s Adventure Garden.

Weather permitting however, Villafane’s pumpkin creation will only be on display for as long at it stays presentable and also as long as we can keep the wily Bronx wildlife from having their own pumpkin feasts.

For those of you who couldn’t be here last weekend, we put together a short video of Ray in his own words describing his process. All the gory, gourdy goodness is below!

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Zombies in the Garden

Posted in Around the Garden on October 24 2011, by Ann Rafalko

ZOMBIES!They came. They saw. They conquered! And lucky for us, everyone still has their brains in place.

Couldn’t make it to the Garden this weekend to watch Ray Villafane transform two of the world’s heaviest pumpkins (including the world record-holder) into a super-creepy zombie tableau? Never fear!

We caught all the action via time-lapse camera and in a slideshow. Head below the jump to see them … if you dare!

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The Carving Begins!

Posted in Around the Garden on October 21 2011, by Ann Rafalko

I got a nice surprise this morning when I stopped by the big pumpkins; I found Brant and Elanor Bordsen, of Marysville, Calif. standing beside their beautiful, pearly pumpkin chatting with Garden visitors and staff. I told them I was surprised and excited to see them here (I had no idea they were coming!), and they said that they decided that they wanted to be here when Ray Villafane cut into their 1,693 pounder, to remove the seeds themselves, and to watch the progress of his sculpture. I asked them if they had seen the concept drawing for his sculpture yet. They said no, so I pulled it up on my BlackBerry and showed it to them. They agreed that it was certainly spooky and would be quite the spectacle!

Learn more about why the Bordsens flew all the way from California for pumpkin seeds below.

Meet the Pumpkins!

Posted in Around the Garden on October 21 2011, by Ann Rafalko

We’ve heard that people want to meet the pumpkins officially, so here they are! Introducing the four heaviest pumpkin the world, currently on display as part of the Haunted Pumpkin Garden.

1,693 pounds - Grown by Brant and Eleanor Bordsen, Marysville, Calif.

1,693 pounds - Grown by Brant and Eleanor Bordsen, Marysville, Calif.
Picture 1 of 4

Photos by Ivo M. Vermeulen

Zombies Set Sights on the Garden

Posted in Around the Garden on October 18 2011, by Ann Rafalko

They’re spooky and they’re ubiquitous, and they’re heading straight for the Bronx! That’s right, beginning this weekend, zombies will be invading the Haunted Pumpkin Garden, courtesy of pumpkin-carving provocateur Ray Villafane. Currently appearing on the Food Network’s “Halloween Wars,” Villafane will be calling the Garden home this weekend, where he’ll be carving two of the world’s biggest pumpkins into one unforgettable pumpkin sculpture.

Want to see what Ray has got planned? Head below the jump to check it. But be warned, it’s the stuff of pumpkin nightmares!

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This Just In: New World’s Heaviest Pumpkin Coming to the Garden!

Posted in Around the Garden on October 17 2011, by Ann Rafalko

World's Heaviest PumpkinHold the presses! You know how we told you that beginning October 21, the Garden would be home to the three biggest pumpkins in the U.S.? Well, we lied. Beginning October 21, the Garden will now be home to the four biggest pumpkins in the world! That’s right, we said world.

Just this weekend a new world’s biggest pumpkin was crowned in Canada. Weighing in at 1818.5 pounds and grown by Jim and Kelsey Bryson of Ormstown, Quebec, the new heaviest pumpkin in the world out-weighs last year’s world-record holder (which also called the Garden home for a time) by 8 pounds! Congratulations Jim and Kelsey! We can’t wait to meet you and your great pumpkin.

Head below to see pictures of the Bryson's giant pumpkin.

The Really Big Three: The Giant Pumpkin Showcase of Champions

Posted in Around the Garden on October 14 2011, by Karen Daubmann

The New York Botanical Garden is proud to announce the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth’s Showcase of Champion’s winners for 2011!

Beginning Friday, October 21 the three largest pumpkins in the United States will be on display in the Garden’s Visitor Center. Come take a look at Dave and Carol Stelts’ 1,807.5 lb pumpkin grown in Edinburgh, PA. Also, be on the lookout for a plane from California bearing a 1,704 lb pumpkin grown by Leonardo Urena as well as the 1,693 lb pumpkin grown by Brant and Eleanor Bordsen.

Here is a look at the standings for all 1,471 entries at the 54 GPC weigh-off locations nationwide.

Come out and take a look at these giant pumpkins beginning Friday, October 21. Mingle with the giant pumpkin growers, tweet us a picture of yourself with the pumpkins, and don’t miss our first carving weekend featuring Ray Villafane on October 22 and 23.

Check out some of these giant gourds as they make their way to the Garden!