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West Virginia Coal Garden

Updated on January 11, 2017

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Out of the Coal Grew a Garden

There is one thing that I never had to look too hard to find growing up in West Virginia- coal. My family's roots are buried deep in the coal mines. One of the most cherished memories of my childhood is making coal gardens with my Papaw. This is the recipe we used to create decorative "blooms".

Out of the Coal A Flower Bloomed

Add a burst of color with food coloring.
Add a burst of color with food coloring.


  • 1 Large Lump (or 2 medium) coal
  • 6 tablespoons salt
  • 6 tablespoons bluing
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon washing ammonia
  • Optional: food coloring
  1. Wash coal and place in the center of a wide shallow dish.
  2. Mix together salt, bluing, water and ammonia.
  3. Pour ingredients over top of coal- make sure all areas of the coal are moistened.
  4. Set the dish in a place where it will not be bumped or disturbed, so the "blooms" do not get destroyed. The garden will start to grow within 2-3 hours.
  5. Optional: Place a drop or two of food coloring on top of the coal to add variety to the otherwise white blooms.


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