Special to the Reporter

The “Gourd Ladies of Granbury” came to Glen Rose last week and shared their years of expertise in building unique birdhouses from dried gourds.

Mary Lange and Dee Gomez of Granbury turned a hobby into a thriving business, selling more than 700 decorated gourd birdhouses. They no longer grow their own gourds but buy them from all over the United States.

Speaking at the Somervell County Master Gardeners' March education program, the birdhouse builders said that those who want to grow their own gourds should plant seeds in loose soil early in the spring after danger of frost is past.  Gourds require lots of water on a regular basis.

It takes months for the gourds to completely dry, so “don’t rush it,” Lange and Gomez said. The gourds will begin to mold, but this is expected. Mold patterns can lend an air of individuality and character to the gourd, she added.

 To make a birdhouse from a gourd, there is no need to treat the inside, Lange and Gomez added.  If the gourd is to be used outside, it will need to be protected with a coat of polyurethane.

Because gourds come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be painted or decorated, it's easy for anyone to make a unique birdhouse to use or to display as a work of art.