Mock Orange–Choisya Ternata

Choisya Ternata (which I grew up hearing called ‘mock orange’) is appearing more and more as a hedge in my neighbourhood.  It looks very lush at this time of the year… leafy and green and just beginning to flower. Inspired by blog posts I’d read like Aqua and Flora and Debbie Herd, I ran a dyepot with no modifier and got a beautiful yellow. Then, I modified with copper water and obtained an olive green.


The effect of this addition was impressive, to say the least.

2014-06-23 10.57.48

This rated as one of the most delectably scented dye baths ever, and it is certainly one I’ll try again.



Filed under Natural dyeing, Neighbourhood pleasures

3 responses to “Mock Orange–Choisya Ternata

  1. Can you provide instructions? I also have mock Orange. Also lilacs.


    • This was all a bit speculative (I did almost no measuring)–but begin by mordanting your wool in alum (10% alum to dry weight of wool). Simmer as much choisya as you can organise to get into your pot in rainwater for about 30 minutes. I’d suggest experimenting with 5:1 to start with–leaves: dry weight of wool, and more is often better in dyeing with plants from the garden. Take out leaves if you need to make space. Add the wool and simmer, do not boil, for another 30 minutes or longer. If you want yellow, let the wool cool in the dye bath and later rinse it out. Done! For greens, I added a small amount of vinegar water I have had in a jar with scrap copper piping. Less than a teaspoon in my case–the colour change was immediate and dramatic so I decided that was plenty and kept heat under the pot for 30 minutes. Happy dyeing! I’ve heard lilacs give colour too but have none to try out.


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