Planning My Dye Garden

Madder in my dye garden

At this time of year, as the days get longer again and hopefully the rain stops and we see the sun i look forward to planning my dye garden. I currently have a 2m square raised bed, divided into 9 sections. Last year each section had a dye plant. Have a look at our You Tube channel to see it last year…

The idea of dividing up the raised bed worked well, but planting directly into the soil was a bit of a problem through the weed suppressant membrane. Where I cut the membrane, pesky comfry popped up and swamped several of the smaller dye plants. This year I’m going to cover each section with stones, gravel, broken pots and crockery, shells, anything that looks pretty (and ideally recycled) and plant each dye plant in a large pot. Watch our social media on Facebook and Instagram for more photos and details as it happens.

Choosing what dye stuff to grow in my dye garden is the fun bit! What colours shall I choose and shall I grow them from seed or plants/cuttings? The madder I have a in a large pot already can be divided to encourage more of the red giving roots to shoot. The Sanguinaria or Blood Root is similar and although it wasn’t very prolific last year, I’m hoping to have a small crop this year to try.

The Calendula and Corieopsis were great plants to grow for dye colour, I bought those at the garden centre but might try seed this year. This year I’m going to try to grow Tansy from seed too. (There are Tansy seeds included in this month’s DIY Daylight Dye kit of the month.) Tansy gives a beautiful rich yellow colour and is very prolific so ideal for a home natural dyer.

Calendula or common Marigold

(More about the healthy Tansy in the next blog.)

Tansy in my Dye Garden

I tried growing Woad in my dye garden last year but it was one of the plants swamped by the comfry. I don’t think I’ll bother with it this year as the more I read about creating woad dye powder the more faff it seems. However, if you fancy having a go, this is a good read….

If you don’t have a garden or space for a pot of dye plants, or aren’t green fingered, you can always buy dried dye stuffs from my friend Helen Melvin of Fiery Felts in North Wales. Or why not try one of our kits, just follow the link.

When the dye garden is tidied and planted for this year I’ll share some pictures,

Bye for now, Caroline

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