Garden Craft: Nothing but Flowers

A Tennessee artist turns landfill-bound plastic into blooming beauty.

By Therese Ciesinski


Eco Flowers have had such success that they've been worn as corsages to high school proms.As well as being blossoms for the vase, the flowers are popular as wedding-cake decorations. Others can be worn as corsages or boutonnieres. Besides the magnolias, Karnitz makes lilies, poppies, peonies, roses, and sunflowers. A few are accented with tiny twist-tie “bees,” their wings cut from those juice-box straws.

In the Flower Patch collection, mini gardens of blooms emerge from soda-bottle calyxes, rooted in pencil-shaving “soil” and accented with jaunty blades of grass. Karnitz doesn’t paint or dye any part of a flower’s components; all the colors are true to the original materials.

It takes between an hour and an hour-and-a-half to make one flower. First, the containers are thoroughly washed to remove residue. Then each flower is built petal upon petal, the petals cut from the natural contours of the bottles so they have a sense of movement. Each flower is unique; blossoms are never made the same way twice.