“The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”

— William Morris

Hi there,

I took a Great Dixter gardening webinar called, “Painting Pictures with Plants”. The 2-hour webinar was taught by the Head Gardener, Fergus Garrett.

I enjoy listening to Fergus Garrett and I wrote down some things that spoke to my heart.

  • Gardens are expression. A creative, open-ended process.
  • Gardening is a form of escapism.
  • Gardening is a mix of craft and art.
  • Gardeners – Thinkers – Feelers

After reading this list, I finally found the words to explain why I garden. I garden to escape, to find peace, and to connect with nature. It’s my creative outlet.

I’ve felt this from the beginning, but reading my notes put it into focus.

I want to use this newsletter to share things that inspire me as a gardener in hopes they inspire you too.

I decided to change up the format to focus on things that will help us create our garden escapes and how our gardens can fuel our creativity.

My garden is my place to escape the stresses of everyday life. I’m excited for garden season to start here in Michigan. What’s your biggest garden challenge and what are you looking most forward to this garden season?

Happy gardening friend! 🌻🌻🌻

Learning How To Natural Dye

Coreopsis flowers
Coreopsis used for natural dyes. Photo by Joshua Cotten.

This season, I’m learning how to natural dye fabrics.

I bought a natural dye extract kit from Maiwa to get started.  I also got a few seed packs to start a section of my garden to grow natural dye plants.

I’m growing
Japanese indigo (Persicaria tinctoria)
Dyer’s Coreopsis Mix
Mardi Gras Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria).

I’m interested in the chemistry and science behind natural dyes. It’s the perfect combination of science and art. There’s something about the colors of nature I find irresistible.

I’ll share my journey on my YouTube channel if you’re interesting in following along.

Helpful Natural Dye Resources

Maiwa Website – Natural dye kits, fabrics, wood stamps and more
Dogwood Dyer Website – Projects, online courses, and articles
The Art and Science of Natural Dyes – Book about the science of natural dyes

DIY Cyanotypes on Fabric

Cyanotypes of fabric - DIY pillow
Cyanotype Pillow in its Natural Environment

Last week the weather here in Michigan was perfect for making cyanotypes.

I wanted to try making cyanotypes on fabric. As soon as the sun started shining, I gathered my supplies and got outside.

My first attempt at a t-shirt last year was a disaster so this time I bought fabric already prepared for cyanotypes. All I needed to do was gather leaves and foliage from the garden to make my prints.

They turned out beautifully. I sewed six of my favorite images together and made a pillow.

I made a video showing the process if you want to give it a try.

Winter Sowing 101

Rozana from Soil and Margaritas Winter Sowing
Roxana from Soil and Margaritas showing us how to Winter Sow

Seed starting season has started for Midwest gardeners in the USA.

If you don’t have time to fuss over baby plants or you don’t have space indoors to start seeds, Winter sowing is the perfect way to grow plants from seed.

You don’t need to buy grow lights or special equipment.  You don’t even need to collect gallon-size milk jugs.  All you need are pots, a protective container (optional), seeds, soil and a spot outdoors to put your containers.

My friend Roxana made a video about Winter sowing. The video covers everything you need to know.

Roxana’s YouTube channel is filled with great information. It’s one of my favorites.

That’s it for this week’s newsletter. I’d love to know how you like the new format. I’m trying to keep the stories short, but helpful.  Hit reply and let me know what you think. Thanks for being here.

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