It's taken almost five years now but our backyard sweet gum is finally sporting a healthy crop of fruit, nicknamed "conkleberries", "space bugs", "bir balls" and so on. Each fruit is covered with over a hundred spikes and contains the same amount of seeds or more, which in turn are eaten by squirrels and birds.
What's more, its conflagration of reds and yellows, browns and purples, easily rival the autumn foliage of its autumn blaze maple companion on the other side of the yard. And that youngster isn't doing so bad itself.
We'll be less impressed when we break out the rakes for the first time.