Yesterday I was playing hopscotch with two of my young grandsons. Instead of a pebble to toss on the board, we used a Sweet Gum ball. If you have Sweet Gum trees in your garden, it's good to look for creative uses for those seed pods - you will have an abundant supply of them.
They begin to drop in late fall and continue into the spring. The pods still line the curb in some spots on my morning walk. Most days, I pick one or two out of the soles of my shoes.
And, along with leaves and pine needles, they linger at the end of my driveway.
On close inspection, nestled in the grass, they look beautiful but dangerous.
As a gardener I find these sticky balls to be a nuisance, but a worthwhile nuisance. The Sweet Gum tree is a valuable native providing beauty as well as food and shelter for birds and some insects.
The complex nature of the seed pods is a reminder of the marvel of nature.
A quick search of the internet provides several resources for creative ideas using the pods, from a tutorial on making a wreath for your front door to a YouTube video in which a 7 1/2 year old demonstrates how to make a star ornament, to a beautiful pair of silver earrings.
Sweet Gum seed pod crafts are so popular, that the pods themselves are
sold on Etsy and ebay. I'm not interested in selling my Sweet Gum balls, though.
I'm saving them to use as a slug and snail deterrent.
Maybe next year I'll make that wreath.