Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gourd Saga

Snake Gourd - Repurposed as Planter by Barb Petrucci
Two or three years ago, Horticulture Educator Alex Surcica grew various gourds (birdhouse, swan neck, basket gourds etc.) to experiment with - as potential renewable, sustainable housing for native pollinators, specifically bumblebees.

Gourds at the Plant Sale
Bumblebees like to nest in abandoned mouse nests, but often have to fight for limited space, so here was an attempt to create some nesting habitat to encourage and potentially increase native bee populations.

Barb P. Decorated Gourd

Alas, the effort never took off, leaving a ton of dried gourds ready for the taking. Back in March and April, Franklin County Master Gardeners accepted the challenge of repurposing the gourds, rescuing them from potential waste in the compost bins, and selling them at the plant sale and other venues. MG Barbara Petrucci led the team that sorted through the pile, scrubbed and cleaned them, drilled holes for use as birdhouses, and decorated them.

Here are the results.

MG Sue Bowders bought one at the plant sale, put several coats of polyurethane on it, and hung it on a shepherds hook for use as a birdhouse.

Bird House Gourd with Red Cardinal Vine

Sue writes, "The Red Cardinal Vine is blooming now and looks nice on the shepherd's pole."

Bird House Gourd with Red Cardinal Vine
  Recognize that snake gourd in the first picture?

It's one of these that I harvested last fall, just after the early 2011 October snow storm.

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