Alas, poor Eucalyptus Orbifolia. I grew this plant from a small seedling to a still small, but perhaps 50 cm high plant hardly worthy of the title ‘sapling’, in a large pot. It seems to have been a casualty of the hot summer and perhaps its far flung location at the back of the yard. Despite all the watering it received, poor old Orbi gives every impression of having curled up its toes. So, I’ve cut back and harvested the leaves for the dye pot. Perhaps there will be regrowth, but I’m not letting all the leaves fall while I wait to find out.
I bought this plant and not some other believing it to be a dye plant for some reason I can no longer remember. I’ve been to the place I thought this idea generated but it isn’t there! And now I can break the news to you, dear reader. It isn’t going to join the list of truly exciting dye plants anytime soon. Here is the dye pot after some hours of simmering.
The dye liquor is still quite clear, with an amber tint. The leaves are still the glorious shape that gives the tree its name. I have leaf printed with them in the past and the result was definitely a print, though not any really impressive colour. And here is the result of a dyebath test. The handspun with no mordant: orange. The millspun superwash with alum mordant: brown. What was I thinking mixing and matching fibres on my test cards in this batch? Silk thread, nothing of significance to report (E Orbifolia is in the middle). And for comparison, handspun Finn X dyed with E Scoparia bark at the bottom of the frame.