All posts by Botanical Interests

3 Ways to Upcycle Seed Packets

Botanical Interests seed packets are creative, informative, and unique. We commission local Colorado artists to illustrate each variety. The illustrations are beautiful, and convey the best qualities of each variety.

Seed packet decoration

There are many ways to decorate your home, office or garden with the beautiful packet illustrations once your seeds have been sown.

Three decorating ideas for used seed packets:

Supplies

  • Empty seed packets
  • Vintage spoons
  • Refrigerator magnets
  • Small shadow box or picture frame
  • Mod Podge® waterbase sealer
  • Small paint brush
  • Scissors
  • Glue stick

Idea #1: Spoon Art

Spoon art is a great way to add vintage décor to your garden while also identifying what has been sown. These spoons can be placed outside  in patio containers or directly in the garden. They should last through the season and will require new packet art if you wish to display them the following year, as the sun will fade the art over time.

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To make these, simply cut a spoon-shaped portion of artwork from the seed packet and use a glue stick to adhere it to the inside of a spoon. Press out any bubbles that form and allow to dry. Apply 3 to 5 coats of Mod Podge®  allowing 10 to 15 minutes dry time per coat.

Idea #2: Seed Packet Magnets

Seed packet magnets are a fun way to dress up your refrigerator at home or your file cabinet at work! You can find blank magnets at craft stores, or recover magnets that you already have.

Simply trace along the magnet’s edge on that portion of the seed packet you wish to use. Use a glue stick to adhere the packet to the magnet. If you are having trouble getting the packet to adhere to the magnet, try using rubber cement in place of the glue stick.

Idea #3: Framed Seed Packet

Seed packets displayed in a picture frame or shadow box will embellish the walls in your home, office or garden shed. They also make fabulous gifts! What chef wouldn’t love beautiful, framed tomato artwork  for their kitchen?

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To make this craft, cut the fronts from the seed packets and place them inside a shadow box or picture frame. To keep them in place in the shadow box you can glue them to the back of box, or use decorative pins.

We’d love to see how creative you get with your vegetable dyed eggs! Hashtag your creations with #botanicalinterests.

 

 

Creative Color Combinations

Planning a flower garden can be a lot of fun, but choosing colors for your garden can seem overwhelming with so many choices. However, applying some basic color theory principles is a great way to get started.

There are four different approaches to color schemes: complementary, monochromatic, analogous, and triadic.

color schemes

The complementary color scheme uses colors that are opposite each other on the color wheel. Examples are orange and blue, pink and green, yellow and purple.

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The monochromatic color scheme uses variations in lightness and saturation of a single color. Examples are shades of light blue to dark blue or pink to dark red.

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The analogous color sheme uses colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. Examples are light blue to dark purple and light orange to dark red.

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The triadic color scheme uses colors that are evenly spaced around the color wheel. Examples are yellow, pink, and blue.

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For trend-setters, the Pantone Color Institute, (an authority on color and the communication of color), chooses a special hue each year based on what is taking place in global culture. It serves as an expression of mood and attitude for the year. This year they have chosen “greenery”. Grow some intriguing green blooms this year!

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“Greenery bursts forth in 2017 to provide us with the reassurance we yearn for amid a tumultuous social and political environment. Satisfying our growing desire to rejuvinate and revitalize, Greenery symbolizes the reconnection we seek with nature, one another and a larger purpose.” – Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director of the Pantone Color Institute.

We’d love to see how creative you get with your color combinations! Hashtag your creations with #botanicalinterests.

Natural Egg Dye from Vegetables

Natural Egg Dye from Vegetables

Natural egg dye

Pile up carrots, artichokes, beets, red cabbage, and onions on your counter— but not for dinner—for dying eggs! Working with vegetable dyes is an easy and natural way to dye Easter eggs this year, and it doesn’t take more than an hour!

Supplies

  • Cooking pot, 1 for each color
  • Plant materials 1–2 cups chopped or peeled
  • Water
  • White vinegar
  • Salt
  • Large bowl
  • Raw eggs
  • Ladle
  • Strainer
  • Plate with towels to rest dyed eggs on

Basic dye bath principles:

dye bath is a pot of liquid, mainly water, that contains a mixture of coloring materials (plants in our case) mixed with a fixative. Use a salt fixative when using berries with a ratio of  1/2 cup salt to 8 cups of cold water. Use a vinegar fixative  when using plants with a ratio of 4 cups cold water to 1 cup white vinegar. Without these fixatives, there is less color intensity and staining effect on the eggs.  Below is a list of plants you can use to get your desired color.

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Dyeing Colors:

Instructions

  1. Gather the plant materials you need for the desired color.  Use your judgement on quantities; the more you add, the more intense the color.
  2. Place all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil; continue boiling until you are happy with the intensity of the color.
  3. Strain the contents of the bath into a separate bowl to remove the solids.
  4. Return liquid to pot and bring to a boil.
  5. Boil eggs in color bath until fully cooked, about 10–15 minutes.
  6. Remove eggs with a slotted spoon and place onto a towel-lined plate.

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We’d love to see how creative you get with your vegetable dyed eggs! Hashtag your creations with #botanicalinterests.

 

 

Baby Greens Living Centerpiece

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Delight your guests during spring get-togethers with a baby greens living centerpeice. This centerpiece will beautify your table and provide guests with a fun, self-service way to add some baby greens to their dish. “Baby greens” is
 a term used for both individual varieties of greens, and for mixes of vegetable varieties grown for their leaves at a height of only 2″–4″. Baby greens supply a heavy dose
of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients— almost four times as much as their mature counterparts.

Supplies

If you are using the Botanical Interests Kitchen Garden Kit, follow these instructions, otherwise, continue to the following steps.

Instructions

  1. Fill container with a light-textured, fertile, well-drained potting soil or seed starting mix/”media”. The medium should consist
 of some organic matter; or plan to fertilize with a organic, balanced, liquid fertilizer.
  2. Sow seeds in a single layer, and cover with 1/8″–1/4″ of soil.
  3. The medium must be kept consistently moist, but not soggy, at all times. Mist or water from the bottom to avoid disturbing seeds or splashing media on the leaves. If sowing into a container with more than 3″ of soil, keep just the top 3″ moist until seedlings emerge.
  4. Place indoors, on a sunny windowsill or underneath grow lights for 14 to 16 hours per day.
  5. Baby greens are ready to harvest 25 to 35 days after sowing, when they have true leaves at 2″–4″.
  6. Place on the table with a pair of herb scissors so guests can snip their own greens!

Learn more about growing and harvesting baby greens on our website.

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Easy Herb Drying Rack

DIY Herb Drying Rack

Preserve the bounty from your herb garden by drying! One of the best and easiest ways to dry herbs from your garden is on a drying rack. Our rack not only gets the job of drying herbs done, it looks great in your kitchen while doing it!  If you don’t have these items at home, you can find them at grocery, hardware, and craft stores.

Supplies

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Instructions for the Rack

  1. Remove glass and backing from picture frame.
  2. Screw hooks into interior of picture frame. Be sure to allow adequate space between rows for herb bundles.
  3. Tie twine to hooks.

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Instructions for Drying Herbs

  1. Harvest herbs in the morning after dew has dried, when flavor is at its peak.
  2. Bundle small bunches of herbs together with string.

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  1. Hang bundles on rack upside down.
  2. Allow herbs to dry in a cool, dry location, preferably indoors, and out of direct sunlight. Essential oils can degrade in temperatures over 86°F.
  3. Allow herbs to dry completley (they should crumble easily in your fingers). Drying time may be a few days to a few weeks, depending on the variety and moisture content.
  4. Use within a month or strip the foliage from the stems and store in an airtight container in a dark area away from heat.

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We’d love to see how creative you get with your herb drying rack! Hashtag your creations with #botanicalinterests.

Fresh Dried Garden Tomatoes in Olive Oil

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Nothing says summer like fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes from the garden! As many of us start our tomato seeds, we can also start thinking about the endless ways to enjoy these garden gems. One of our favorites is drying, for a sweet and tangy burst of tomato flavor that enlivens your favorite dishes. Some excellent varieties to consider for drying are Principe Borghese, San Marzano, Speckled Roman, Italian Roma, and Supremo. Any and all cherry and grape tomatoes will also make excellent dried morsels!

Ingredients

  • Fresh-harvested paste, roma or cherry tomatoes (as many as your oven racks or dehydrator can fit after tomatoes are halved)
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Sea salt

Instructions

  1. Slice all tomatoes in half, and gently remove seeds. IMG_3228
  2. Place halved tomatoes in the oven on a sheet pan or on dehydrator racks with the cut side facing up. IMG_3230
  3. Lightly salt each slice
  4. Set dehydrator to 150°F (10 to 12 hours), or oven to 250°F (4 to 6 hours).  Dehydrating time will depend greatly on the size of your tomato slices.  Dried tomato slices should be crisp but still pliable.
  5. Using tongs, quickly dip tomato slices into red wine vinegar.
  6. Layer tomato slices into clean canning jars, leaving about ½” of space in each.
  7. Fill jars with olive oil, completely covering all tomatoes. IMG_3264
  8. Store tomatoes in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Use tomatoes and oil in salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches, or eat them straight from the jar!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decoupaged Garden Journal

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It’s so helpful to keep a record of your garden’s life so that next year you can remember the little tricks that worked so well, and avoid some that didn’t. Garden journaling can be as simple as writing about your garden daydreams and taking pictures, or as thorough as recording measurements and keeping notes about growth.

Decorating your garden journal can be a fun, family activity that will beautify and personalize it. We’re decorating ours with seed packets, and you can too by following these steps:

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Garden Journal (Paper cover works best)
  • Seed packets
  • Glue stick or rubber cement
  • Mod Podge
  • Small paint brush
  • Scissors

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  1. Cut the front off of the seed packet.

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  1. Attach each packet front to journal cover with adhesive.

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  1. Continue attaching packets to cover, overlapping slightly and wrapping the edges of the packets around the cover.

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  1. Using a paint brush, apply a liberal coat of Mod Podge to the entire surface of the journal. You can add multiple coats for additional shine if desired. Wait 15 minutes between coats.

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  1. Allow to dry thoroughly and keep out of direct sunlight.

Get tips for garden journaling and free printables on our website at: https://www.botanicalinterests.com/articles/index/category:secrets-to-success

We’d love to see how creative you get! Hashtag your creations with #botanicalinterests.

Decorated Gourds

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Curing gourds for craft purposes is easy. Some gardeners have found success with curing gourds by just leaving them on the vines through winter, but results can be variable. To pick your gourds for drying, as soon as the vines are dead and the gourds’ skin has begun to turn an ivory color, cut them from the vine, leaving 2”–3” of stem attached to the fruit. Don’t try to save any gourds that have cracked or broken skin, since they will eventually rot. Keep gourds in a cool, well-ventilated place. Bring indoors as a last resort, as curing gourds often develop a strong smell. Clean off any soil from the surface, and wipe the gourds with a mild bleach solution (1 oz. bleach to 2 quarts water). Store them on a wire mesh, not touching each other, out of direct sunlight. It can take up to 6 months to completely dry inside. When gourds are finished drying, they will feel much lighter, the seeds will rattle around inside, and the outer skin will peel away to reveal a brown or tan shell.

Once cured, hard-shelled gourds have a thin, hard, waterproof shell, which is treated just like wood (carved, cut, and/or painted). They grow in many sizes and shapes and thus have endless uses and last indefinitely.

For our project, we chose the spinning gourd, since it is the perfect size for a tree ornament.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cured spinning gourds
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Very fine drill or burr
  • Wood burner
  • Twine
  • Scissors
  • Face maskdecorated_gourd_1
  1. Use the sandpaper to remove blemishes and areas of discoloration.
  2. Use the drill or burr to pierce a hole in the stem of the gourd. This is a delicate area of the gourd so you need to be sure to use something sharp. Do this before decorating, as it is possible to crack the gourd during this process.
  3. Heat up your wood burner according to instructions. Put on your face mask, and start burning patterns and shapes into your gourd. You may find it useful to draw shapes with a pencil onto your gourd prior to burning.
  4. If you decide to paint your gourd, be sure to do so after burning, as burning paint could produce harmful fumes and dust.
  5. Tie a piece of twine through the hole in your gourd and display.

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We’d love to see how creative you get! Hashtag your creations with #botanicalinterests.

Distressed Pumpkins

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Pumpkins are such a versatile fruit! They can be eaten, carved, decorated, or simply displayed. They conjure warm thoughts of harvest, autumn, and yummy pies, and are the quintessential icon of Halloween. This year we want to keep our pumpkins around beyond Halloween and into late fall, so we are decorating instead of carving them. We love the way distressed furniture invokes a farmhouse feel, so we’re transferring that look to our decorated pumpkins.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pumpkins with ridges
  • Spray paint primer
  • Gold, silver mirror-, or metallic paint
  • Gray or white, flat, latex paint
  • Water
  • Paint brush
  • Rag
  1. Thoroughly clean pumpkins and allow to dry.
  2. Spray pumpkins with primer in a well-ventilated area, coating entire surface. Be sure to protect surrounding area from over-spray. Allow primer to dry for recommended amount before proceeding to next step.img_1381
  3. Spray metallic paint according to label instructions and allow to dry at least 24 hours in a well-ventilated area.img_1385
  4. Using paint brush, apply one coat of gray or white, flat, latex paint to entire surface. Allow to dry for 30 minutes.painted pumpkin
  5. Using a damp cloth, wipe away portions of the paint to allow metallic paint to show through. Wipe away paint until desired effect is achieved. The more paint you wipe away, the more metallic paint will show.img_1399img_1404

We’d love to see how creative you get! Hashtag your creations with #botanicalinterests.

Pumpkin on a Stick Bouquet

Pumpkin on a stick

Few people will guess what type of plant it is, but everyone loves the cute, pumpkin-shaped fruits of ornamental eggplant. When added to a fall floral bouquet, Pumpkin on a Stick makes a striking statement that will surely be a conversation piece!

First, decide which fall color scheme you’d like to use, and choose foliage and flowers that complement each other. We’ve chosen a classic autumnal palette with hues of red, burgundy, yellow, orange, and brown.

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To create your fresh floral arragment you’ll need:

  1. Using pruning sheers, cut floral and foliage stems to desired length. We cut the stems for the center of the vase longer and the stems for the outer edge of the vase shorter.
  2. Remove all foliage that would sit below the water line in vase.
  3. Fill 1/3 of the vase with room-temperature, clean water.
  4. Distribute foliage and flowers evenly throughout the vase. Avoid large clumps of the same type.
  5. Replace water, and cut ½” from stems every other day.

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We’d love to see how creative you get! Hashtag your creations with #botanicalinterests.