Additions to the dye garden

It’s a mighty busy time of year in my day job, which is why it has been quiet here at the blog.  That, and a series of lovely house guests.  Those present in the flesh trump the online world on an average evening at our place!  However, life has been busy at home too.  Propagating and planting is going all out so long as the serious heat holds off.  I even have a few Japanese Indigo seedlings, though this morning some of them had been chewed in the night.  There is a period in summer here where planting anything seems merely unkind and doomed to failure, but we’re not there yet.  I have been germinating and planting out, and there has been guerilla gardening too… but I digress.

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A few weeks ago, I had some surprise purchases at the annual Herb Society fair.  I cycled up there with friends who had brought a picnic and we came home laden with plants and seeds… it was a lovely day.  I have been to the fair many times looking for dye plants and failing to find them.  One year I succeeded in buying madder, which was very exciting.  This year, though, I bought woad!  Who knows what will come of it, but I have two plants and they are thriving in the vegie beds so far.  I had managed to buy seed but have never grown even one seedling.

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Then there was weld!  I decided to bring it home in spite of all the other sources of vegetable yellow.  we’ll see where that leads, too.  And finally, this rather spectacular form of sorrel.  Nothing to do with dye that I know of, but it does promise some pleasurable and spectacular summer eating…

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Filed under Dye Plants, Neighbourhood pleasures

6 responses to “Additions to the dye garden

  1. I tried to grow some dyeplants this summer, but failed to get down to using those that survived, I need someone who has experience to encourage me I think! all the japanese indigo seedlings were eaten by a snail which came into my shed with another plant, except one, which thrived and flowered, but did not set seed. the woad seed never germinated, or was eaten by slugs before it showed itself. I managed coreopsis and dyers camomile outside, which looked pretty! I don’t actually have the space to grow enough woad or indigo to be of much use. ( well I could if I ripped up my wild flower and grass area :D) will look forward to seeing the results of yours 🙂


    • I feel your pain… after 3 years of failing to get dyer’s coreopsis to germinate and two rounds of woad seed without a single plant! It is a miracle I am growing lettuce at this rate, but snails are just so picky. Apparently something as novel as Japanese Indigo is obviously a delicacy. I think there is nothing wrong with your wild flowers or my vegie patch, and a little dye planting on the side is an extra entertainment when I get lucky!


  2. Susan

    you are going into summer as i am going into WINTER and I am not kidding!! Good luck with the woads and welds but your sorrel looks totally different from what is grown here (n. Idaho) and I use it for quiche and soup. Love the stuff.


    • Oh, I know! It is a source of constant amusement to be in fora online where people from your hemisphere predominate, and the seasons are back to front 🙂 I have never seen sorrel like this either. The usual kind here is plain green. It has almost doubled in size in the last two or three weeks, so I reckon we will get to try it soon in all its red-veined glory! Quiche sounds great…


  3. Thats a lovely sorrel. I’ve got a plain one. Its roots have been passed down through 4 generations now. Its an oldie 🙂
    Love your blog


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