Gourd candle holders
I had the slight misfortune to grow an enormous crop of gourds last year when I would rather have grown pumpkins. Somehow seed got muddled but a year on, these hard-skinned gourds were hollowing themselves out and getting rather interesting, speckled-egg-like markings. Some were still orange and fleshy, but were easily carved out, and the result was perfect natural tea-light holders.
To make To hollow out the gourds, cut the tops off (I used a small toothed hacksaw) and carve out as you would with a pumpkin, then drill holes around the circumference to let extra light spill out. A group of the gourds and gourd ‘cups’ in a large glass jar, bridled with copper wire, made a lantern hanging from the oak tree but I saved a single spotted gourd, like a rare specimen, for a jar of its own. For this one I used a beeswax candle for illumination. By attaching gourd cups to the tops of sturdy sticks (see left) you have an alternative to garden flares for lighting a path. Just make an extra hole in the base of the gourd cup and a pilot hole in top of the stick, then attach them together with a screw. Warming to the aesthetic of a botanical collection, I made single fronds of fern into rings, using florist’s wire, to dress the tops of the sticks, and multiple fronds for the base and the neck of the jars.