Dye Garden June 2021

The coreopsis appears to have survived the recent stormy weather and is growing on strongly. It will be needed for a Dyelab workshop in July so hoping to see some flower buds soon.

Lots of weld seedlings which will need thinning out. These will provide a harvest for next year. Weld is an essential plant for the dye garden as it produces a strong yellow dye which has good list fastness properties.

Walnut Solar Dye Pot

Walnut is a dye stuff that can be used on both animal and vegetable fibre without a mordant. Once you have set up the dye bath, add your fibre and leave it to take up the colour. With a solar dye bath, you might leave it for a week say….or longer perhaps.

A friend has sent in some dried walnut husks from her garden. These will leach a lot of colour when rehydrated.

The husks have been mixed with hot water and will be left on a sunny windowsill to encourage the colour into the water.

Dye Lab


New for 2021 is the Dyelab – a space for students to cook up a pot of plants and dye some samples of fabric or paper.








Madder tops just starting to regrow this Spring









The colour is found in the roots of the madder plants. The thicker the roots the better.










The roots are washed and chopped up then cooked to extract colour. This is a sheet of cotton rag paper which will stay in the pot for about 30 minutes.









Samples of paper dyed with the madder root. Most of these had been previously mordanted with oak gall and symplocos.

Back From Lockdown

March 2021

At last, work can restart on the dye garden after a year of absence.

Most of the plants have survived the very dry season last year. But some areas will need replanting and weeding.

A larger patch of comfrey has been planted, teasel and cornflower seed has been sprinkled so hoping for some warm weather and spring rain to see them germinate.

A peacock butterfly was spotted sunbathing near the garden