On Friday, we loaded up the van and took the Volunteer Gardener (www.volunteergardener.org) television cameras down to Jackson, TN to visit my friend (and the horticulturist for UT’s West Tennessee Research Station at Jackson) Jason Reeves. I’ve mentioned him before and I think I blogged about last year’s pumpkin display, too. Talent beyond measure!
This year’s display contains more than 5,000 pumpkins, winter squash, gourds and a few other related cucurbits arranged in two blocks in the parking lot of the research station. The design changes every year, with this year’s theme featuring a river of white mini pumpkins flowing under a wooden bridge and surrounded by a fantasy landscape of orange, green, grey, blue, yellow, brown, striped, lumpy, bumpy, smooth, ribbed, tall, short, fat, skinny squash and gourds that are deftly arranged into an otherworldly scene. There’s even a “nest of snakes” (gourds) living by the river and the “pumpkin house” is back this year, too!
If you have reason to be in or near Jackson, Tennessee in the next few weeks, the research station is only about 5 or 10 minutes off of the interstate. And if you can’t make it to see the pumpkins, the gardens there are gorgeous, too! Even in the winter, there’s enough going on to make it worth your while and during the summer months, when the gardens are in full bloom, it is nothing short of breathtaking.
I should mention that while Jason is the horticulturist for the station, he also has the talented and knowledgable Matthew Morrow helping him out, as well as an amazing group of local volunteers and master gardeners that dedicate their time to his cause.