Greenleaf Gourds and Greenhouse

Artist Bio

Melinda Petro

Melinda Petro


Nature - Being outdoors - and Creating. Those are the things I have always enjoyed the most in life.


I started drawing in the eighth grade and received my first profit for a drawing I did for a neighbor. In high school, I was introduced to colored pencils and paint. I then attended college starting out in illustration but finishing in graphic design. After finishing college, I realized I am an 'OUTDOORS WOMAN' I cannot spend the rest of my life inside in front of a computer. So I moved to the Teton National Park where I started creating pieces from nature. Then I moved to Lake Powell where I slowly began selling my pieces to tourists and while working at a resort.

Always loving Cache Valley, I moved back to my college town in northern Utah where we own an old home dating back as early as 1903. We are surrounded by beautiful old trees that I incorporate into my work. In college every summer I went home to work with my parents at a large greenhouse, always having a love of plants. Now I operate a 1000 sq. ft. greenhouse that allows a relief from the pressures of the art world and our long winters as well! From mid January to June, I play out in the greenhouse with plants so I can offer a wide variety of heirloom tomatoes, peppers and other main vegetable garden plant starts. I also have a love for succulents, water and pond plants so I usually offer some of them as well.

Gourds are my newest passion, after many years of working with clay, drawing and painting, the gourds allow me to paint, cut, carve, sculpt and wood burn designs out of them. The uniqueness and originality of each gourd allows me to create fine works of art using natures elements as my inspiration. Gourds have opened up a whole new media to me as well - illumination and lighting! Creating lamps and illuminary works of art from gourds. They also allow me to show my whimsical side creating holiday and everyday home decor, Dr. Seuss and Tim Burton being my biggest inspirations.

Gourds are a vegetable that is in the squash and pumpkin family, however after picking a gourd from its vine and allowing it to dry, a gourd will become very hard. The drying time depends on the size of the gourd and the thickness of the walls of a gourd. When drying, the skin which is the outside layer of the gourd will become moldy. This is actually an important part of the process. After drying the mold will allow your dye to absorb in different shades giving each gourd is unique one of a kind look.

Because of my love of nature I strive to bring the natural elements around us - that most people overlook - into our homes transforming them into beautiful artwork. Working with plants, wood and leaves in the past gourds have become a natural fit to add to my media.

I create my pieces to intrigue and inspire you and to look at nature’s elements in a different way, so your next outdoor adventure may allow you to look at a leaf - piece of driftwood - or even a vegetable in a whole new way. - Allowing a bit of nature into your home!