Lee Valley & Veritas

Gardening Newsletter
  Volume 8, Issue 9 - September 2013  
Interesting Read
Excerpt from The Wildflowers of Canada, Algrove Publishing, 2001.

Whether we have the gift of art or not, a very pretty and simple process enables us to ask and receive from Nature as many of her autographs as we wish. As the process is new, let it be described with a little detail. The outfit is a couple of sheets of fresh carbon paper such as stationers sell for manifolding, half a dozen sheets of thin linen paper, and as much cartridge, or other paper, smooth in surface. The leaves for printing must be green, and neither wet nor dry. One of them, say a maple leaf, is laid rib side down on a sheet of carbon paper, and is then covered with a sheet of linen paper through which the outline of the leaf can be both seen and felt. A piece of soft cotton, or an old silk handkerchief, is now rubbed on the leaf, gently if the leaf is tender, with some pressure if the leaf is strong: the finger-tips moving outward from the mid-rib to the edges of the leaf. As soon as the leaf has gathered carbon enough it is lifted and placed, carbon side down, on the cartridge paper which is to receive its imprint. To make this imprint, the leaf is covered with a sheet of linen paper and then rubbed. A clear and beautiful image will reward one's pains very soon after the first attempt. With but a little practice an extremely pretty album can be made from leaves of every type, a touch from a pencil here and there filling in unavoidable short breaks of lines.

A maple leaf's autograph

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