Creating with Dried Flowers

Creating with Dried Flowers

Part of Ep. 1104 Garden Gifts

Create autumn wreaths and garlands using dried leaves flowers and nuts from the garden with Waunakee artist Mitzi Kust.

Premiere date: Nov 19, 2003

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley:
Gardening is a simple word with many meanings. To some, it means vegetables. To others, gardening means beautiful landscapes. And to some, it means arts and crafts homemade products and one-of-a-kind gifts. Welcome to the Wisconsin Gardener. I'm your host, Shelley Ryan.

Today, we're going to focus on the latter meaning of the word gardening. We're going to learn how to create, using plants we grow or harvest. And we're going to create unique gifts. For a special treat, we travel to a Woodlanders Gathering in Mineral Point, where a group of people, including myself, spent three days learning how to create from nature. We'll show how to build a beautiful willow garden tower and a charming, whimsical garden statue. Also on the program Madison gourd artist, Marty Ottem shares tips on creating works of art and great birdhouses from home-grown gourds. First, an artist in Waunakee shows how to create autumn wreaths and garlands using dried leaves flowers and nuts from the garden. It's all coming up next on the Wisconsin Gardener.

Shelley:
As a gardener, when I'm outside I'm constantly noticing the colors and the textures of a lot of the plants. And at the end of the growing season, I don't want the season to end. So, I tend to cut these things off hang them in my garage and bring them in the house. Today, I'm going to find out if I'm doing the right thing, and how we can have more indoor beauty from our dried plants. I'm with Mitzi Kust. She is a watercolor artist. She's very involved with Schumacher Farm in Waunakee. You work with a lot of dried plant materials. Am I doing the right thing? What's the best way to dry and preserve our plants from the garden?

Mitzi:
Well, Shelley, I've had long years of experimenting and in my opinion, air drying is the easiest and the very best, because it not only seems to preserve the plant better, it's less brittle, the color stays nicely And also, it lasts a lot longer. Silica seems to dry the plant material.

Shelley:
They get very brittle. I know some plants, you have to do that with. But there's a wide variety I can air dry successfully?

Mitzi:
Absolutely, just about everything.

Shelley:
We're hanging them upside down basically in a cool, dark area with good air circulation. That's it?

Mitzi:
Absolutely. Simple.

Shelley:
You've got one here that I never would've guessed that you could've air dried. And these are rose buds?

Mitzi:
Rose buds. And they were strung the exact same way that you string popcorn or cranberries for Christmas. And in fact, that's how I use them. I put them on the Christmas tree.

Shelley:
Wonderful. I would never think of a garland of rose buds. What are some of the things I can do? When I dry the stuff I tend to leave it hanging all over the house, because I don't know what to do with it.

Mitzi:
The simplest thing and sometimes you come into the house with the perfect bouquet that you gathered in your hand is to put it in a vase.

Shelley:
Oh, sure!

Mitzi:
We've all got very pretty vases around that we keep in the hopes that we'll get that dozen roses.

Shelley:
The dried material will be a lot more frequent than the roses, I think!

Mitzi:
I really prefer that, too, color-wise.

Shelley:
That's all air dried?

Mitzi:
It's air dried, yes. And, of course, a very popular way to preserve these things is to just make a simple wreath of grapevine.

Shelley:
That's just grapevines twisted together and you've tied them.

Mitzi:
I've got binder twine tying that. You can kind of bend it into the circle shape and create a wreath.

Shelley:
Now, this is fresh silver mound Artemesia. How long is it going to last in this kind of color?

Mitzi:
Well, you mentioned that it's fresh. I believe that you can go out-- If you have the time, put the wreath together right away.

Shelley:
So, do it before it's even dried.

Mitzi:
Right.

Shelley:
You've got one here that's the same plant Same plant. This is how old?

Mitzi:
Four years.

Shelley:
Wow, look at it, it's still beautiful. It looks like Victorian lace.

Mitzi:
Look at the difference in the color.

Shelley:
I'd take either one, it's gorgeous.

Mitzi:
As it ages, it takes on another look.

Shelley:
How are you attaching everything?

Mitzi:
In this case, I'm using little bunches.

Shelley:
Now, is that a florist wire?

Mitzi:
This is wire that I bought at the hardware store. It's very pliable.

Shelley:
Okay.

Mitzi:
And it's also...

Shelley:
Convenient.

Mitzi:
You can't see it very much. It's hidden. And the way you attach it to the wreath is to just overlap. Simply keep overlapping the bunches...

Shelley:
Just progress around.

Mitzi:
Until you get to the end.

Shelley:
I mean, it's pretty, like this.

Mitzi:
Mm-hmm.

Shelley:
Now, rose hips, I can get those easily. But why don't mine look like that?

Mitzi:
Rose hips don't stay that pretty.

Shelley:
No, they wrinkle!

Mitzi:
I dip them in floor wax.

Shelley:
Regular household-- this stuff, here?

Mitzi:
Correct.

Shelley:
You dipped them in the floor wax. Then you dried them in an oven?

Mitzi:
I stuck them in a vase and dried them.

Shelley:
So, everything's air dried.

Mitzi:
Air dried.

Shelley:
Are these also--? You said you were experimenting. Are these also dipped in floor wax?

Mitzi:
Every year, we want to hang on to those fall leaves.

Shelley:
I know it!

Mitzi:
And I did the exact same thing. I laid them out on this paper to dry but I did press them.

Shelley:
Okay, press them first for a couple days and then dip them in the floor wax.

Mitzi:
Yes.

Shelley:
I'm going to have to try that.

Mitzi:
But it seems to preserve the color, and it makes them very pliable if you want to use them.

Shelley:
When you're attaching stuff, like the leaves or the rose hips are you wiring these to the wreath, too?

Mitzi:
No, I have a shortcut to the glue gun. I gave up on the glue gun, because I burned myself.

Shelley:
I've done that!

Mitzi:
The glue gun would break right in middle of a project. So, I discovered, through a friend, that if I just took the glue gun wax and melted it in an old fry pan, I could simply dip the piece in...

Shelley:
Oh! No burned fingers!

Mitzi:
No burned fingers. And also, it dries very quickly, as you know.

Shelley:
Right, usually on my fingers! Here's another example of the variety of things you can do if you just get a little creative. These are horse chestnuts you picked up off the street, and just glued them...

Mitzi:
In fact, up at the state Capitol. I probably shouldn't be telling you!

Shelley:
The moss is fresh, or is that dried, too?

Mitzi:
That's dried.

Shelley:
Wow! So, we have all sorts of ideas if we just think about it.

Mitzi:
Walk in the woods.

Shelley:
I'm going to go home and start playing. Mitzi, thank you very much.

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