WHAT is big, orange, and has a circumference of about a metre and a half?

The Oxford Botanic Garden’s impressive gargantuan pumpkin – affectionally nicknamed ‘The Beast’ by staff – is the largest pumpkin in the garden’s recent history.

Trainee horticulturalist Ness Newman, from Headington, has been assisting gardener Jim Penny, who has grown the large fruit.

The 35-year-old said: “He has been feeding it fertiliser regularly.

“It has been having cuddles and we have been removing all the competition.”

She added: “Everybody loves it.

“All the kids are quite overwhelmed. It is still growing. In theory it could have another seven weeks left.

“It has not finished growing yet, so we will measure it when it is finished.”

She said they are not sure what they will do with the pumpkin when it is fully-grown, but it could make an impressive Halloween lantern.

The gardens will be running pumpkin-related activities on October 30.

s Visit botanic-garden.ox.ac.uk for details.