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Grow a Craft Garden

If you want use your garden to display your creations or grow your supplies, try this fun and economical themed garden.

By Sharon Biggs Waller

Red and yellow strawflowers
Courtesy Zoonar/Thinkstock
Grow strawflower in a craft garden to use in dried floral arrangements and wreaths.

Why rely on hobby stores for materials when you can create your own? Many plants are well-suited for crafts, including jewelry-making, dyeing and wreath-making. For a craft garden, you can also show off your crafts in the space itself. Your garden can be a personal art piece, with whimsical forms on the ground made from different materials, such as crushed rock, concrete pavers, brick, decomposed granite and flagstone—all meant to guide a person through craftwork displays and craft materials.

Plants to Try

Job’s Tears (Coix lacryma-jobi)
Usually grown as an annual, the bead-like seeds of this plant have a hole in the middle. Colors range from off-white to dark. Use to string necklaces or for beadwork.
annual or tender perennial; hardy to zone 8

Sorghum (Sorghum bicolor)
Historians believe Benjamin Franklin introduced the first grain sorghum crop to the U.S. This cereal crop can also be made into homemade brooms and autumn decorations or used in decorative sprays and wreaths.
annual; hardy to zone 10

Marigold (Tagetes)
Dyers love this annual for its yellow-gold dye. Use alum as a mordant (a substance used to set dyes) to create light yellow and iron as a mordant to create darker gold.
annual; tender (doesn’t tolerate frost) in all USDA zones

Strawflower (Helichrysum mill)
For the everlasting dried floral gardens, this annual with round blossoms in just about every shade of color blooms all summer.
annual; half-hardy (tolerates light frost) in USDA zones 8 to 11

Gourd (Cucurbita L.)
When dried, gourds lend themselves to a variety of uses for the crafter. Good choices include the aptly named hard-shelled birdhouse, hard-shelled Corsican for bowls and hanging baskets, and hard-shelled long-handled dipper for soup ladles.
annual; hardy to zone 10

Other Plant Choices
Baby’s breath
Ornamental grass
Dyer’s broom

About the Author: Sharon Biggs Waller is a freelance writer and hobby farmer based in northwestern Indiana. She has several themed gardens of her own, including a scented garden and an apothecary garden. She’s the author of The Original Horse Bible (BowTie Press, 2011) and blogs at www.sharonbiggswaller.com.

This article originally appeared in the January/February 2011 issue of Hobby Farm Home.

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Reader Comments
Nothing like putting our son's handprint on something made to give to his grandmother to have a memory of just how much he's grown through the years.
Christy, Mt. Hermon, LA
Posted: 5/7/2014 7:26:37 AM
Enjoyed the article!
Bridgette, LeBeau, LA
Posted: 12/9/2011 12:11:41 PM
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