Gourds for Christmas? Most certainly, gourds for Christmas!
Gourds: Most Ornamental and Versatile Plant
They are one of the most ornamental and versatile additions to the “greens” we cherish as such an important part of the holiday time.
They can be fresh, colorful ones of this season’s crop; or beautifully shaped, dried, and polished ones.
Varieties Of Fresh Gourds
The variety of fresh ones is numerous, ranging in color from pure white through all shades of yellow and orange to, perhaps, the most brilliant and beautiful greens one could imagine.
Picture a tapering cluster of tiny Lagenaria, or hard-shelled gourds as they are commonly called, on a well-made swag of spruce, yew, or cedar.
Variegated Green Shades
The green shades are variegated and light enough to show up well on the dark background, and their shapes are charming.
A few bright, brown cones might be added for variety.
And what could be more breathtaking than a beautiful arrangement of ivory-white Crown-of-Thorn gourds of varying sizes against a background of rich dark-green sprays of yew?
Picture this on a dignified antique black-marble mantel, with tall ivory candles in gleaming silver sticks at either end.
Religious Significance Of Lovely Gourds
These lovely gourds also have a religious significance, making them even more appropriate to the season.
Their 10 points have won them the name of “The Ten Commandments.”
Interesting Uses Of Gourds
These graceful Crown gourds are beautiful enough for a formal centerpiece.
A lovely one for a long table may be made on an oval board with a band of waxed clay around the edge:
- Well-shaped sprigs of green firmly stuck into it
- Radiating outward until it forms a frame
- Slightly wider and higher towards the center
- With the gourds arranged inside this
- A good-sized spray of green and white-leafed
Oregon holly, at either end, carry the white of the gourds out along the table.
Some shining silver, tall white Candles, and gleaming glasses complete a truly festive picture.
When your fall crop of ornamentals fades and dries, do not discard them: there is another interesting use.
Select the smooth ones that have fruit shapes:
- Clean and paint them to resemble tiny apples, lemons, limes, etc.
Here’s your chance to see how good an artist you can be.
You can use them for decorating your wreaths, swatches, and baskets instead of the real fruit.
You will find them lighter and much easier to fasten to whatever you are making; what is more, they are waterproof and durable.
However low the mercury drops, they remain intact, and after the holidays, they may be packed away and used again and again.
Lagenaria Gourd Plant
Small, well-shaped Lagenaria (dried) may be cut off at the bottom and gilded to make charming little bells:
- A string or cluster of these,
- With little cones as tongues,
- A background of green creates a stunning door piece.
A bit of gold or red ribbon may be added if you need more color.
Painting Of Dried Gourd
Regarding the painting of these dried gourds, be sure they are entirely dry and free of the often-moldy skin with which all gourds are covered.
Warm water, a stiff brush, and steel wool will accomplish this.
Here’s what you can do:
- Bore two small holes in the stem ends.
- Run a fine wire through them, leaving it long enough to fasten easily to whatever you wish to decorate.
- Paint them with regular artists’ tube colors, using a varnish medium instead of oil, as this dries much more quickly and has a higher gloss.
- Hang them up until perfectly dry, and you are ready to work.
- Also, while you have a brush in the varnish, give your little gold bells a coat, and they will repay you by keeping you clean and bright through many Christmases.
Firm Lagenaria For Basket Centerpiece
A large, firm Lagenaria, in which graceful openings have been cut, and a strip left at the top for a handle, makes a lovely and interesting basket centerpiece filled with greens, holly, alder, or growing vines and berries.
This should be dried, scraped, and polished; a light waxing helps the color, and a coat of paraffin makes it waterproof.
Polishing And Painting Of Tiny Gourds
Very tiny gourds may be polished, painted, or gilded to be tied onto your gift boxes, with perhaps some little cones and a bit of green.
Anyone with a little imagination can make unlimited use of these fascinating products of nature, for they blend perfectly with all of the other materials of the season.
Once you have worked with them, you will most certainly fall under their spell.
44659 by Hazel Davis