Friday, 20 May 2011


Not a spelling error - a group of us went to Maristow today to begin clearing the dye garden. I suggested to Jenny, whose gardens they are, that she should apply to hold the national collection of perennial and annual weeds! Nevertheless, a stout hearted gang of us: Philippa, Janet, Sue, Paddy, Jill and I, spent the day pulling out bindweed, bramble, giant hogweed, groundsel, nettles, docks and other sundry unwanted plants. I know that nettles are good for dye, but there are plenty in other places in the gardens. We cleared about a third of the ground and were joined by my husband, Mike, for the afternoon.

We moved a smoke bush, cotinus, from its rather unhappy position outside the walls and into our dye patch, marked out two beds and sowed safflower, coreopsis tinctoria and woad. We planted hollyhocks and edged one of the beds with Lady's Mantle. There is a small elder already in situ, and when we have cleared some more space, we will move two small New Zealand flax plants into the dye garden in order to give us some fibre!

Though we may be rather late in sowing, we hope that we will get something to use this year to show for all our hard work, and we have made a start - probably the single most important thing.

The photo shows the progress we have made - the whole bed looked the area you can see behind us. Sadly, I forgot to take one as we finished for the day, so you can't see the beginnings of the beds!


  1. Fantastic work, all of you put in. It'll be great to see a dye garden like the one at the Potage du Roy!

  2. Well, that'll take some doing....

  3. you lot can come over and dig and weed in my garden any time:)) don't forget to dye with the nz flax -the flowers/seed pods give lovely medium browns!