Country View: Sally Yoder – Natural Designs – State College, PA
Sally Yoder uses nature to help her walk on the wild side.
Photo courtesy Natural Designs Studio
Radio interview source: Sally Yoder, Owner, Natural Designs
Sally Yoder and her husband, Dennis, live on a family homestead near State College, Pennsylvania. On those three-acres, Sally has large gardens of herbs, flowers, and native grasses. An avid wildcrafter, Sally says developing the gardens has brought the wild in to her. What others consider useless, she finds a place for.
"I have bittersweet on lattice, barberry hedges, just so I can gleen from all of these plants," she says. "And most of these plants are seen as obnoxious to farmers. I'm able to use them, value them, put them in high design, and give them worth."
Sally makes all kinds of creations from her wildcrafting, and likes to teach others how to do the same. She uses fresh wheat and grasses to create bouquets and boutonnieres for green weddings. Grasses and wild perennials are made into live decorations both inside and outside the house.
Where does she get her ideas? Sally says she lets nature be her guide.
"It has become my teacher," says Sally. "I see things growing side-by-side, I see the textures and the colors, and the changing from day-to-day. And so from that, I just bring it into a design that is really similar to the way it's growing in nature."
Sally shares the wealth of each season by teaching others. She takes students out to her gardens to clip materials for their designs. Once they see flora and fauna the way Sally does, it becomes much easier for them.
Sally says just as a chef can change the way we look at ordinary food, the same can be done with what's growing around us.
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