Thursday, March 26, 2009

My entry in the Philadelphia Flower Show 2009

Hello to all!
Well, the snow melted and then we got more...ughhhhhh! Where's spring?!
I am so thrilled to tell you that my first and only entry in this year's Philadelphia Flower Show took a first place ribbon! The theme for the show this year was 'Bella Italia'. It was held on March 1 - 8 and thousands of people attend every year. If you would like to see photos of the show and many of the entries in the Pressed Plant Material category and other competitive categories such as Arrangements, Horticulture and Orchid and many more please go to my website: http:/
You will find links on my home page following an article I did there.
I am also very proud of all my fellow World Wide Pressed Flower Guild artists who entered the show! You will see their work also in the links and many took ribbons in their class.
The class I entered was the 'Italian Plate'. I had never done a pressed plant material design on a plate before. The first challenge was dealing with the curve of the plate. Li, a friend of mine on the guild, recommended that I use a tacky glue to hold the tough, thick leaves down for the background. And it worked great! Thanks again, Li! I drew the design out on tracing paper and then glued the pressed material to the tracing paper. Most of the picture is done from fall leaves that were sent to me by many of my guild friends from all over the country and even Canada! Thank you all, my friends! We don't have much for colorful trees here on the high plains of the Dakotas. The fruit bowl and the edging around the plate were done with delphinium petals. The highlights on the wine glass are done with corn husk. The grapes are done with the leaves from a Mountain Ash tree. Then I covered the plate with coating of a botanical glue and then sprayed it with a UV resistant acrylic spray to make it more durable.
This was all a real learning experience for me and I hope to enter next year and even attend! What fun to see all those flowers in March!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Good morning! The snow is finally starting to melt up here and the sun is shining. Everyone I see has a big smile on their face today! Hurry spring...we are ready!
I finished a pressed flower picture that I would like to share with you all today. I did this one as an on line class project through the World Wide Pressed Flower Guild. Our instructor was Russian Oshibana (pressed plant material) artist, Irina O. One of Irina's most beautiful pieces was awarded a first place ribbon at the Philadelphia Flower Show that was held March 1 to March 8. She is a very accomplished artist and a wonderful instructor...we are very lucky to have her on our guild.
The picture we did was a winter scene. Since I live in South Dakota I decided to add a couple of pheasants to my picture...we are the 'Pheasant Capitol of the World', you know! And I changed the tree a bit to look more like what we have here. The technique for the sky was just intriguing! It is made of corn husk...the husk that is closest to the cob and is lighter, almost white in color. Then Irina taught us how to use onion skin for snow. The darkest parts of the tree are made with banana peel. If you are new to pressed flower/botanical art this may sound very strange to you as it sure did to us before trying it. Now all of us on the guild are looking suspiciously at all our fruits and veggies...nothing safe out there anymore!
Hope you like it. I learned volumes from Irina and can't wait for the next class!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Re-potting amaryllis today

Well, it's 13 below zero this morning but the sunshine is here and very welcome...particularly after several blizzardy days on the northern plains. I decided today was a good day to re-pot something so started with the amaryllis that has been sitting in a cool closet since about mid November. I have many more houseplants that need to get new soil and bigger pots...maybe next week. Just really needed to get into some dirt and re-energize myself and watch something sprout soon!
I lifted the big bulbs right out of the pots with their dried up soil and all. Then I shook and teased off as much old potting soil as I could. I was happy to see all the healthy, fleshy white roots there. Then I cleaned out the pots in a sink of soapy water with a splash of bleach...rinsed well and dried. Next I put some new potting soil in the bottom and kind of teased it up the sides. I have learned to buy the best potting soil out there. Potting soil, I have learned, is not something you can economize on by getting the cheapest brand. My plants have done so much better since I learned this!
Oh, and I learned something else about the amaryllis bulb that I didn't pay attention to last year. I am a pressed flower/botanical artist and have been taking lessons on a wonderful guild I belong to...the World Wide Pressed Flower Guild. We have been extremely lucky enough to have several new Russian Oshibana artists teach master classes over the internet. What I have learned is to look at every organic thing as a potential for material in a pressed plant piece of art. And right there all around that bulb was the most beautiful bronze skin that needed to come off. In our last class we learned to use onion skin, banana peel and corn husk in our artwork. Well, I am saving a container of it and just know that it will fit somewhere in a future piece. If you want to see some examples of pressed flower/botanical art you can go to my website:
and find links to some beautiful pressed flower/botanical competition pieces at the recent Philadelphia Flower Show! (I will post more on the show soon!)
So back to my re-potting...I forgot to say that I added a (4 cup size) coffee filter in the bottom of the pots as the holes were big and didn't want the soil falling through. Works great! Then I added the soil and then placed the bulbs in so that the top of the bulbs remained about 1/3 above the soil. They both got a good drink of water til it ran out the bottom. I did let the water sit in an old gallon milk jug over night to leach out the chlorine and let it get to room temperature. Tooooooo cold right from the faucet! Then they went in a sunny window and soon I'll see something green and new and alive! Can't wait!