The dye bed

Coreopsis tinctoria, indigo left, weld at the back
Coreopsis tinctoria, indigo right, weld at the back

The section of lawn that I killed off last year is all filled out, although not just with dye plants. In fact, the dye project seems to go not all that well. Plants are growing (in case of the japanese indigo, not growing, but surviving), but no flowers. The weld most likely won’t be useful until next year, but I did hope to finally harvest a lot of coreopsis. The marigold also aren’t looking very willing. I didn’t sow new Dyer’s Chamomile, there is still some in the abandonded veggie garden along with woad.

French Marigold (tagetes patula)
Marigold (calendula) and potatoes

I took the opportunity of clear soil to bury a few old potatoes, replant my strawberry plants and some asparagus. Lettuces and spinach, kale, and this little experiment: The wilted stub of a used supermarket celery, now look what it’s doing after I planted it! Hopefully some radishes on the way too.



It’s still stormy and autumn like temperatures here (13 C yesterday), so I don’t spend much time outside actually. We’re putting up a temporary fence where the hedge died, so we have a corner of shade and quiet, vainly hoping we’ll actually get to use it. I think I’ve had 4 days’ use of our garden furniture this year! I believe it’s the third summer in a row that’s acting this ghastly, and I really, really dislike strong wind. We’ve also had snow 3 winters in a row now, very unusual.

Look how the pear tree has been shaped by the wind – despite a hedge!

Well, at least I have an excuse for knitting more sweaters since they’re now all year gear! I’m going to step up my needle sizes to be able to finish sooner…

The birdies are fed sunflower seeds in winter – sometimes they miss a few.

13 thoughts on “The dye bed

    1. Well, this isn’t “normal” here either, 20-22 is usually the average with heatwaves up to 30 and perhaps dips to 17-18. This year everything is blooming late and even the greenhouse isn’t warm enough to really get the tomatoes and cucumbers along. Typical when I finally have the energy to do something with it, LOL.

    1. Nature will do what nature does, for sure. 😉 I was hoping to get help from nature dyeing my yarns, though.

  1. You have quite a green thumb, Pia. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous. Would these natural dyes work well with paper? I’m highly interested in trying this technique out, alas, I am not a soft-media artist.

    1. Well, yes, there is ecoprinting on paper. You can either place fresh flowers and leaves between two sheets and beat them with a soft mallet or you can bundle a pile of layers, soak them in vinegar water and steam the bundle in the oven. You could also boil dyestuff to extract colour and simply dip paper in there. Use iron bits to change the colour in some areas.

      1. I’ve been attracted to these natural dye methods forever and it honestly has never occurred to me that I could dye paper (though it seems sooo obvious now! I used to dye notebookes with coffee and tea for goodness’ sake so…. *head desk*). Thank you for these tips. I’m excited about doing more research, about this. *scurrying off into dye-paper websites*

  2. Thanks for stopping by my blog today and leaving a comment. I love your photos! It’s very relaxing here 🙂 This is the first time I’ve seen celery growing!

  3. I sympathise with your trials and can only say it’s the same here in Bedfordshire. The gardener had to replant his beans because the first lot died and that is unheard of before. I’m looking forward to seeing how your plants come on once the summer gets going (she says, crossing her fingers).

  4. At least your plants look nice and green, really healthy – I’m very envious of this as my new dye plant border has been a bit of a disaster this year (more of which on my next blog post…)!

  5. Your dye plants look so healthy and well – very envious. (And I love the celery trick – I must give it a go!)

    1. But somebody is nibbling the leaves of my radishes, or rather, attacking them with needles or something. They’ll be lacework before long! I wonder, if I nip off the leaves, will the culprit go away and will the radishes keep growing?

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