My new dye bed

See that strip of yellow? Yes, dead grass, and I know some people (you know who you are too) are wrinkling their noses at me, but I need all the help I can get battling grass and weeds at the moment. Sorry….

Right now the ground is like concrete, but once the autumn rains begin, I’m thinking I can dig up that turf, make a nice edge, till the earth and next summer add some better material to plant in and put my dye plants here. Actually I need a place to put my strawberries as well, so I may have a lot of digging to do.

I already have weld, woad and dyer’s chamomile in my not-to-be vegetable garden. I meant it to be, but as hard as it is to battle weeds on a field of clay previously used for grain, it becomes impossible when a ton of thistle seeds are accidentally blown into the place covering it like a BLANKET, no kidding, it just becomes impossible. The mice ruin my new plum trees. So I have a few berry bushes in there, use the space as a tree nursery from time to time and to heck with it.

So my new plant list so far is (yes, I’ve been through “A Dyer’s Garden” for inspiration), it may change before spring:

  • Coreopsis tinctoria – I love how you can get both orange and yellow from this in the same dyebath and how little plant material is needed. Instant gratification!
  • Weld – Reseda luteola
  • Dyer’s Chamomile – Anthemis tinctoria
  • Telekia
  • Japanese indigo?
  • St. John’s Wort – Hypericum perforatum
  • Marjoram – origanum majorana
  • Bronze fennel – Foeniculum vulgare
  • Purple basil
  • Hollyhock?
  • Black eyed susan – Rudbeckia fulgida
  • Marigold – tagetes
  • Comfrey – symphytum

Goldenrod and tansy and purple loosestrife I can find in the forest. Others I already have on various parts of the property (10 acres).

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Jeg mÃ¥ desværre tage “det gule hakkejern” til hjælp i øjeblikket hvis jeg skal nÃ¥ haveopgaverne, sÃ¥ her har jeg gjort klar til mit forhÃ¥bentlig nye farvebed som jeg vil grave op og klargøre nÃ¥r vi fÃ¥r lidt vand til jorden, den er som beton lige nu. Et udmærket efterÃ¥rsprojekt?

Min køkkenhave, hvor den slags ellers skulle foregÃ¥, blev desværre overblæst med tidselfrø fra grønthøsteren, et tykt tæppe, sÃ¥ nu har jeg opgivet, der bor et par solbærbuske som med nød og næppe kan findes frem hver sommer….


  • Coreopsis tinctoria – skønhedsøje. Orange og gul fra samme farvebad og masser af krudt i!
  • Anthemis tinctoria – farvegÃ¥seurt
  • Reseda luteola – Vau
  • Telekia – tusindstrÃ¥le
  • Japansk indigo?
  • Symphytum – kulsukker
  • Hypericum perforatum – sankthansurt
  • Havemerian – Origanum majorana
  • Bronzefennikel – Foeniculum vulgare
  • Sort stokrose
  • Rudbeckia fulgida – solhat
  • Tagetes

9 thoughts on “My new dye bed

  1. What a wonderful plan! And I like your list of plants – I am really looking forward to seeing pictures of your dye garden developing. Are you thinking of growing them “flower border style”, just mixed together fairly tightly, or are you thinking of having paths in the middle to make it easier to pick them?

    1. No particularly orderly plans, really, because I always end up just going with the flow of the monent. Some space is needed to walk on I guess between each group, but nothing organized.

  2. What a great plan! I did something similar last year when we had to take down 4 plum trees. I covered the area with cardboard and then layered mulch material on top. By the time spring had come along the cardboard had done its work and smothered the weeds and the mulch had added to the soil and made the hard ground easier to dig. I still have a few weeds but they are pretty easy to pull. I got some of the mulch for free by contacting the power company and asking if they needed a place to dump mulch from the trees they had to cut down. so it was cheap to do. I call it my butterfly garden cause I attract so many butterflies and hummingbirds but I snuck in lots of dye plants.
    I planted coriopsis, weld , madder, and woad. My sister sent me dahlias to dye with. Another easy one with a fabulous orange color is cosmos I dead head all summer and then collect the seeds in fall for next year. And I bought 2 red perennial hibiscus that I have been dyeing with this year too. I have been writing about it on my blog if you want to see some pictures.
    Can’t wait to see how your dye garden develops

    1. I had in fact thought of using the half million tonnes of local newspapers etc. that we get each week, to cover some ground and keep weeds down. Sounds good that you can harvest the cosmos, I’ve been collecting and drying Dyer’s chamomile heads all summer. Dahlias I had for a while which I grew from seeds, but I got bored with digging them up every fall so they’re gone now.

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