I should have done far more work in the garden by now, but at first the weather was too wet - and now it is too dry! I know, I know, gardeners always complain, but really - what's the good in sowing early and then having to water everything down to the spuds:( so ok, I am still weeding like mad and sowing inside the dome and polytunnel, but I have to be careful not to overdo it as the water is already scarce and as long as the outlook is like this, I have strict orders from DH to be very careful.... (of course he needles me all the time that the weeds are calling my name!)
but - I finally managed to grow Serratula tinctoria! it is supposedly a weed, but not native to ireland. I bought seeds for this plant every year since I started natural dyeing - and never had any success in growing it! of course I could have ordered a single plant from a german herb supplier, but what's the use of a single plant - for dyeing?! no good really - so I kept trying. and now, finally, I see them sprouting - many of them, all looking the same. last year I thought I did it, when one seedling sprouted and grew well - only to find out at flowering time that I was pampering a sow thistle - the flowers were yellow:( very embarassing for the gardener... but now as I said there are plenty of seedlings and they keep growing nicely. I hope to get a nice strong yellow from this - it has been an old and well-known dye plant in germany for centuries, so of course as a natural dyer cum gardener I have to have it too! maybe success came at last because I didn't buy the seeds this time? I received two donations, one from northern germany and one from Prince-Edward-Island of all places! yep, dyers are a great lot - and I am grateful for the addition to my dye plant collection - eclectic as it is, if I may say so myself.
to keep with the dye plants: I wasn't sure the small "black" pansies would make it again, so I bought a seed packet of new ones as well, this time with larger flowers. of course, now I find the little ones sprouting all over my veggie plot, so I am in hope to follow the tip of a fellow dyer - to get a nice green with the black flowers! and the newcomers in the pot are coming up now too, so I might have enough for more than just a few cm of yarn.
then there are the camellias - the red ones are in flower right now and I am very proud (took pix, but they'll take a while...) - and collecting and freezing those that are past their best. will they count for "hedgerow dyeing"? I don't think so, but never mind.
and even in the worst bed of all the japanese plant Lithospermum erythrorrhizon is coming up again - through the weeds that I still have to pull (more like dig!) out! the tops don't do anything in the dye pot, but I am hoping for a purple of some kind eventually - following the book "Der Regenbogenfarbendieb" (not available in english, unfortunately). pity though, that only the roots dye....
I hope for a prolific year in my garden - and in my dye pot of course!