my dye garden

I am home again after spending a few days at the cabin. We got a lot done the pier and boat are in. And I worked in the yard a little. Well when I say work what I really did was putz around a little and take pictures. Here is a picture of blood root. It is all done blooming for the year but it is still a lovely plant.
Here is a closer look at the leaves. When it is in bloom each plant has only one white flower with 8-10 petals. In the woods around the house this plant is about 5″ high.If you break off a stem It will start to bleed a brilliant orange color. The roots of this plant can be used for dyeing. I did try this about 4 years ago. I went into the woods near the cabin and dug up roots. And then chopped them and simmered them in a crock pot. The book that I read about this plant as a dye plant suggested doing this in the fall to get the best color. I did it in the spring because by the end of the month it will be hard to find plants cause the follage will be gone in the woods and something else will replace it. The color from the roots is a great orange color. But I only did it once. It is a lot of work to dig and chop and you have to be careful to leave roots so that it will come back the next year. And I just didn’t want to destroy this lovely flower. I did put some roots in my flower bed though. Now when I want orange dye I use cosmos or marigolds.

Originally they grew under this cranberry verbedium. I loved the way the bush arched and formed a doorway to the front yard.

The bush also provided shade for the bloodroot and ramps and dutchman breeches that I dug up in our little woods. The bush died 2 years ago and I am still looking for something to replace it. But the blood root has really taken over the bed.
Last year I started a new bed for my dye plants in the side yard. I started by laying cardboard and paper on the grass and then putting mulch on top of that in the fall. In the spring the soil was already looking pretty good — the grass had rotted away and I was able to dig into the mulch and put in some plants. You can see from this picture I still have a lot of work to do but it is starting to fill in. I just planted weld, madder and woad seeds in the bare spots in the front of the photo.You can see the native  tick seed that I planted last year. It is already blooming the other varieties of tickseed or coreopsis haven’t started to bloom(the pictures from a few days ago were from last year).

I still have a lot to do in this garden bed — it is a work in progress.  I am still pulling out grass that comes up through the mulch. And I had to pull a few dandelions and thin the milk weed that is threatening to take over the bed if I let it. I piled grass clippings along the outside of the bed to help smother the weeds on the edge of the bed.

Next week we are going back to the cabin to do a little fishing.  I want to throw some of this yarrow in my dye pot while I am working in the yard…it is supposed to give a light yellow color when simmered.

Almost forgot to add — a reminder about the miniskein giveaway leave a comment between may 1- 13 and I will enter you in the drawing for 13 skeins of mostly naturally dyed yarns.

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1 Comment

  1. Kabira said,

    May 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Will look forward to the growth of y our dye garden!


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