Commonly called the pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) is a cheery addition in British cottage gardens. Producing an abundance of bright yellow and orange flowers. Well known for its healing properties and edible flowers. It is also a lovely natural dye producing a light lemon/yellow colour or olive/browns depending on the mordant used.
The weld is looking rather statuesque now (also known as Dyer’s rocket). It is a hardy biennial that produces attractive flat rosettes of long slender leaves throughout its first year and long tall spikes in the second year, growing up to 1.5 metres. It flowers between June and August. It is also an excellent plant for attracting wildlife. With an alum mordant weld produces an outstanding primary yellow on wool and silk. Weld overdyed with woad makes Lincoln Green which was the colour of Robin Hood and his merry men’s clothing!
The four madder beds are looking wonderful. I have been digging up the rhizomes for orders for several weeks now. I have a four-year rotation system and always have plenty available for sale. The roots of this ancient plant are rich in alizarin and are the source of a strong red dye. The uniforms of the British Red Coats were dyed with madder root.
In the greenhouse
This years Indigofera tinctoria sown in late February is now ready to be repotted. I will put about 100 in the polytunnel and 50 outside.
It is one of the oldest plants in cultivation and has been used for thousands of years as a natural dye – producing a wonderful blue colour made from the fermented leaves of the plant.
There is so much going on in the dye garden and I look forward to sharing more images with you as they develop over the next few weeks and months.
All seeds, dyes, and mordants can be purchased from my online store; dyeing-crafts.co.uk
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