This would be the time of year when visitors would come and take a look round the dye garden and maybe watch a natural dye demonstration followed by a cup of herbal tea and homemade cake. Sadly because of this dreadful pandemic, it can’t happen this year. So I thought over the next few months I could make a gallery of images of the plants as they grow and change over the seasons and give a little information on each one – much as I would if doing a tour. Hopefully, you may find this interesting and perhaps encourage you to create your own natural dye garden if you have not already done so.
This beautiful display is woad in its second year. In a few weeks, the flowers will fade and will be followed by long seeds which will turn black as they ripen.
Woad is native to Europe and is famous for the blue dye that can be extracted from the leaves. In ancient times the Celts used to paint their bodies blue in an attempt to frighten the enemy in battle.
The beginning of June and the Dyer’s Greenweed is looking stunning!
Dyer’s greenweed (Genista tinctoria) is a low growing, green stemmed deciduous shrub of the pea family. Growing between 2 – 3 feet tall and wide.
It produces deep yellow flowers on bright green stems. The flowers are followed by seed pods which ripen in the autumn.
It performs well in sunny locations and well-drained soil. Once established it has good drought tolerance. It does not transplant well, so leave undisturbed once planted. Prune back after June flowering to encourage extended summer blooms.
An excellent yellow dye can be obtained from the flowers and young shoots.
The shoots and stems from some of the taller plants in this genus were sometimes bound together for use as a sweeping broom – hence the common name – Dyer’s Broom
In the greenhouse
The Japanese indigo sown in February is looking good. I hope to plant it out this weekend if the weather is kind!