ARTcoleusRedux  I live in Stonington, Connecticut, a seaside fishing village where small gardens are big attractions. Mine is modest, at best, and may never land on the official tour, but it brings me joy.

In the past, winter gardening meant tending a few houseplants and the odd container garden that I found room to winter over in my kitchen.

More recently, I have extended my gardening through the winter months in a different way — I garden on paper.

When cool nights threaten,  I collect a variety of foliage and fill weighted stacks of newsprint with the leaves of my plants — ivies, ferns, caladium, bleeding heart, nasturtiums, coleus and more. In a few weeks to a month, much of the material is dried and ready to  work with.   I love learning how different plants dry absent chemical treatment like silica gel.

Some, like caladium, soften to a silky texture and keep much of their color. Others, like geranium and sweet potato vine, dry  to a rich brown. Still others, like Ginko, dry to yellows.


I know there are purists in the world who wouldn’t dream of altering a natural specimen, but some dried foliage just begs to be tinkered with.

If this is a pastime you share, I’d love to hear your ideas.