Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sweet on the Sweet Gum

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.


PlantPostings said...

A slug and snail deterrent--I didn't know that. How creative to use them for hopscotch! And I'm picturing a beautiful wreath... Very nice!

scottweberpdx said...

I love them...then again, I don't have to put up with them on in my garden...but I love them in other people's yards ;-)

Donna said...

I just love the look of the balls but they have some unusual uses...too bad we don't see these much around here.

Mac_fromAustralia said...

Ah, I was thinking Sweet Gum sounded vaguely familiar and that link confirmed it, it's what we call liquidambar. I love the close-up!

Daricia McKnight said...

I feel like a sweet gum sister. :) They're so much a part of life here...I remember climbing into a sweet gum tree that I could reach from my childhood swing set. I think they're a nuisance but I also love them and can't imagine being without them.

Doreen Frantz said...

Bag-A-Nut has a perfect solution for collecting those sweet gum balls. Easily pick them up off the ground and save them for crafts or trash! Check it out