Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. I’m still excited about George Ellison’s column in the Asheville Citizen Times “Why the blackgum has a hollow trunk” -- do look it up --as it paints a wonderful picture of how something that sounds bad – a rotten tree – was critically important in frontier life. The most popular use for cut sections of these hollow trunks was to construct hives called bee gums. Ellison recounts the story of a farmer in disagreement with his neighbors over whether Missouri should be a free or slave state. He gathered up his fifty bee gum colonies and placed them around his cabin. When an angry mob force surrounded his home, he shot his gun into the hives – those highly agitated bees attacked the would-be human attackers and drove them into the woods where they hopefully cooled their tempers and returned home to nurse their stings.