Many handcrafts and hobbies are directly dependent on or closely related to the growing of gardens or to plant life in general. When children show more inclination toward the arts and crafts than toward grubbing in the soil, possibly some of these plant craft projects will kindle their gardening interest
For an adventure in surprises few things can top a gourd garden. Here there can be a perfect hodgepodge of sizes, colors and seemingly unrelated bizarre forms. There is more than a hint of this in some of their odd nicknames; calabash pipe, African pipe, dipper, Hercules club, caveman's club, Turk's turban, Chinese water bottle, spoon, dishrag, finger, and dolphin.
Gourds may be dried and used au naturel for winter arrangements. But the imaginative young hobbyist will spot them immediately as potential birdhouses, hanging baskets, wall sconces, rattles, dolls, dippers, bowls, flowerpots, spoons and other objects both useful and amusing.
When properly dried and cured gourds may be hand-carved, enameled, shellacked, polished with wax, or left untreated. Initials and designs scratched on young gourds will become an integral part of the matured shell.
Most seedsmen give full directions for growing gourds. Some offer suggestions for curing and ways of using them. Hobby books often include instructions in this craft, and there are government bulletins on the subject.
Many a young enthusiast will work out his own inventions. If a child is seriously interested, however, it would be worth while to write to the Gourd Society of America, Horticultural Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, for seeds, literature and possibly a membership.
Every little girl, as well as every big one, loves to wear flowers. Corsage making is something of an art, but it is by no means beyond a nimble-fingered older child. Books on flower arranging usually include detailed instructions on corsage techniques.
Any flower that keeps well in water is a proper corsage ingredient. The corsage garden can contain almost any flower the small gardener admires. Only a few, such as morning glories and poppies, are poor corsage material. So, let her grow her favorites. But do see that her selection includes flowers that will bloom over a long season.
The trick in making flowers remain fresh when worn is really no trick at all. It is simply a matter of conditioning the flowers before arranging them into a corsage. Conditioning,
as explained later, means putting them into water immediately after picking and leaving them there for several hours or even overnight. Leaves used in the corsage must also be conditioned.
In making the corsage, stems are shortened as desired, wrapped with fine florists' wire, and wound with floral tape. Ends must be covered thoroughly with the tape.