Sunday, 15 April 2007

Success at last!

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!


Janet said...

I'm envious of you with space for a dye garden. Good luck with your various plants. I love natural dyes.

Juliana said...

Hallo Bettina,
die Serrulata wollte bei mir noch nie kommen. Aber ich will es nochmals probieren. Dachte, dass es blau geben soll. Gruß Juliana

Leigh said...

I'm with Janet, I envy a bit of space for a dye garden! Congratulations on your Serratula tinctoria! That's happy news.

Willington Weaver said...

Oh, I am so envious of your dyers garden, too. Well done and please post pictures when you finally dye with it, please.