I love native plants and communities, but appreciate gardens, too, where we mix plants from all of the world (hopefully reasonably suited for the site). Some gardens are naturalistic; others are fantastical. I appreciate those that have a naturalistic inclination, to be sure.

Receiving a catalog today from a well-respected purveyor of plants (because I'd recently joined a professional association), I flipped through the pages. It was full of the sort of plants I hate - strangely variegated cultivars, gaudy flower selections, and oddly dwarfed specimens. I DO know many gardeners enjoy such things, but I'm not one of them.

This poor sweetgum, a wonderful fast-growing native tree here in the Eastern U.S. that some people fuss about because of its fruits (spiny, seed-rich fruits favored by American Goldfinches), has been turned into a rather dreadful pencil-shaped thing (I won't name the cultivar to protect the source).

I'm quite fond of sweetgums myself, but this one -- I don't think so.


  1. Well, it's shape would add some architectural interest to the garden, that's for sure. I'm of the mind now that if it's green, and it's growing, it's beautiful.

  2. Now that is truly a travesty.

    Did you know that you can chew on the stem of a sweetgum leaf -- and discover why it was named that?

  3. Nancy,
    I'm always appreciative of green, especially this time of year, and I'm in awe of those of you that live in places where green is in short supply now.

    Eastcoastdweller, I've always enjoyed sweetgums -- great fall color, interesting leaves, AND sweet sap -- how cool is that?


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