As we drove home from exercise group last Saturday morning, it became clear that a big part of a tree had been cut down beside a warehouse-style business near home. A big chunk of tree canopy was lying on the footpath. I didn’t think I had sampled the tree in question, but there are several in that area that look like E Scoparia, but have been pruned to branch very high–out of reach. There isn’t much hope of my identifying this one–it has no fruit, flowers or buds on it right now, though it does have red twigs and white-barked branches and leaves the right shape for E Scoparia. I have had some success with leaves from the gutters on that street, but not right where these branches were lying. I went back and applied my secateurs.
To my sadness when I actually stopped I could see that a tree had been felled and that its trunk had been taken away. The very base of it was all that was left, and it was clear that a large section of the root mass had rotted away or become diseased. Just the same… the continuing loss of trees around our way feels relentless. This week someone else aggrieved by the felling of three massive trees on one block which I posted about recently took a spray can to the fence of the block in question. One fence had something I can’t fully reprint here: ‘What the f*** have you done?’, and the other fence said the neighbourhood was in mourning for the loss of the trees and that planning laws should be changed. I thought I would take a photo but this morning there was a chap with a paintbrush taking it out less than 48 hours after it went up.
But this is no reason to allow all the leaves of this felled tree to go to commercial composting if I could dye with them and then compost them. Needless to say, after this flame orange result, I went back and cut all I could get into a chaff bag (that’s a very big sack, in my terms). As a bonus to my visit, the tree had been felled beside an E Cinerea, so I picked up every last leaf that had fallen from the E Cinerea too. I’ll be running a workshop at my Guild in June and I’ll need to bring a goodly amount of dye material.
This next eucalypt was standing in the parklands in North Adelaide. I went there early one morning for an appointment so had a walk before my appointment. I decided to sample it because India Flint suggests silver grey leaved eucalypts are promising dye plants. The buds were so pretty!
Clearly when it flowers there are many flowers… but not yet…
The tree was an interesting shape…
There was the intriguing feature of two different coloured trunks coming from one lignotuber.
And I just can’t explain why there were so many land snails, but I love land snails.
The result in the dyebath was a pale apricot.
Then there was this tree, growing on the far outskirts of my workplace just outside a car park. It seems like a box (one branch of the eucalypt family) to me.
It was gloriously in flower, full of bees and birds.
When I went back in the evening, I realised there were a few of these trees and there were also fallen branches. Well worth sampling, in my view!
I loved the colour from this plant, and I used a dyeing strategy India Flint described in Melbourne. Far less energy use and potential for fibre damage… and clearly this may become my new normal way to dye with eucalypts!