Katie Henglefelt says she has always loved the outdoors. âAfter high school I went to school to get a diploma in horticulture, landscaping and turf management,â Katie said.
Part of her horticultural diploma was developing a book of leaf and flower presses. âWe had to squeeze the leaves and identify them,â Katie said. “I really enjoyed doing the presses.”
She was looking for clients near her home to expand her online flower pressing business. âThe first bouquet I made was my wedding bouquet,â Katie said. She called her business “Pressing My Luck” as a nod to both the pressing of flowers she does and her talent for finding four leaf clovers.
In addition to using her knowledge of horticulture as an entrepreneur, Katie also works for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) where she says she enjoys the best of both worlds. .
âI go out and attend classes in the winter,â Katie said. âI attend pesticide classes and take care of a lot of applicators. I also have fun in the office – he’s a cute little hybrid.
Before accepting a position with the state, Katie worked in greenhouses. âI added turf management because I only needed a few extra courses to get that degree as well as the horticulture degree,â Katie said. âAfter a summer of spraying lawns, I realized grass was not for me. Instead, she returned to the greenhouse.
âGreenhouse work takes seven days a week,â Katie said. “There is no time for crafts.”
Working for DANR, Katie has more flexibility to try her hand at other things, and the pressing allows her to work directly with the flowers.
For the artwork she makes, Katie gets flowers on walks in the community when she cuts flowers from dying flower beds. “I always say, ‘If I’m ever arrested, it will be for stealing flowers,'” Katie laughs.
Katie says she thought most of her time would be spent producing artwork, but instead fulfills custom orders. “I made the art to show what I could do, and once people saw the art, they started contacting me for the preservation of wedding bouquets or funeral sprays.”
She will preserve the flowers by both drying and pressing them, and, along with her husband Jason, builds custom frames to house the preserved flowers. âI press flowers in old phone books, so I’m always on the lookout for the ones someone wants to get rid of. “
As a horticulturalist, Katie says she’s never particularly liked roses, but says “they squeeze beautifully.” I love roses now!
She has learned that succulents don’t press well. “They go moldy and turn brown.” She collects leaves to give depth to her pieces, and particularly enjoys collecting the plum colored leaves from trees around the state capital and the almost white leaves she finds on the trees in the Pierre Arboretum. .
Katie posted videos of herself creating her pressed flower designs to her Pressing My Luck Facebook page. She also has a website, www.shoppressingmyluck.com and an Instagram account, @shoppressingmyluck. By phone, she can be reached at 605-222-3641.
A native of Pierre, Katie has made Onida home since her marriage to Jason Henglefelt in April. In their spare time, the couple enjoy playing softball and gardening.