Katie Henglefelt says she has always loved the outdoors. “After high school, I went to school for a degree in horticulture, landscape design and turf management,” said Katie.
Putting together a book of leaf and flower pressings was a component of her horticulture degree. “We had to press the leaves and identify them,” said Katie. “I really enjoyed making the pressings.”
She looked close to home for customers in developing her online flower pressing business. “The first bouquet I did was my wedding bouquet,” said Katie. She called her business ‘Pressing My Luck’ as a nod to both the flower pressing she does and to her knack for finding four-leaf clovers.
In addition to using her knowledge of horticulture as an entrepreneur, Katie is also working for the South Dakota Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources (DANR) where she says she enjoys the best of both worlds.
“I go out and attend classes in the winter,” said Katie. “I attend the pesticide classes and deal a lot with applicators. I enjoy myself in the office, too – it’s a nice little hybrid.”
Prior to accepting a position with the state, Katie worked in greenhouses. “I added turf management because I needed only a few more classes to get that degree as well as the horticulture degree,” said Katie. “After one summer of spraying lawns, I realized turf is not for me.” Instead she returned to the greenhouse.
“Greenhouse work is seven days a week,” said Katie. “There is no time for crafts.”
Working for DANR, Katie has more flexibility to try her hand at other things, and pressing allows her to work directly with flowers.
For the art pieces she does, Katie gets flowers during walks around the community when she deadheads flowerbed flowers nearing the end of their life. “I always say, ‘If I ever get arrested, it will be for stealing flowers,’” laughs Katie.
Katie relates that she thought that most of her time would be spent producing art pieces, but instead, she fills custom orders. “I made the art to show what I could do, and once people saw the art, they started reaching out to me for preservation of wedding bouquets or funeral sprays.”
She will preserve flowers both by drying them and by pressing them, and, together with her husband Jason, builds custom frames to house the preserved flowers. “I press the flowers in old phone books, so I’m always on the lookout for those if anyone has any they want to get rid of.”
As a horticulturist, Katie says she was never particularly fond of roses, but she says “they press beautifully. I love roses now!”
She has learned that succulents do not press well. “They mold and turn brown.” She collects leaves to add depth to her pieces, and especially appreciates collecting the plum colored leaves of the trees around the state capitol and the nearly white leaves she finds on trees at the arboretum in Pierre.
Katie has posted videos of herself building her pressed flower creations on her Facebook page Pressing My Luck. She also has a website, www.shoppressingmyluck.com and an Instagram handle, @shoppressingmyluck. By phone she can be reached at 605-222-3641.
A native of Pierre, Katie has called Onida home since marrying Jason Henglefelt in April. In their free time, the pair enjoys playing softball and gardening.