A small plot of land in my daughter’s garden basking in the sunshine of Roberts Creek, and a dream was planted.
Referencing “A Dyers Garden” by Rita Buchanan and “Harvesting Colour” by Rebecca Burgess, we spent a Mother’s Day at the local garden centre and were able to get all of the plants we had chosen to fill the space.
Marigolds, zinnias, hardy hibiscus, dahlias, marjoram, St. Johns Wort, purple basil, lemon cosmos, Alcea rosea ‘Nigra’ black hollyhock; Cherry Brandy rudbeckia and sunflowers were planted with care and love. Later we added three plants of Japanese indigo. One of our Guild members had acquired some Japanese indigo seeds and several members started them from seed. An indigo workshop was planned for late summer.
Just how many plants can fit into a very small space? We planted them much closer than the recommended spacing and they flourished.
Christina made our dyers garden extra special with the addition of driftwood signage marking the Garden and each and every plant in it. The sun shone for record hours this summer on the Sunshine Coast. A gift from Mother Nature.
The Japanese indigo thrived at the back of the space. The flowering plants were watered faithfully and deadheaded on a regular basis. We had more success with our dye baths than we could have imagined. Deanna gave great advice on mordanting and Heather set up dye baths on her deck which gave Dorothy and me the courage to try our own. What amazing fun while we were learning the process. A perfect summer and the start of an absolute obsession with natural dyeing.
Top row: Japanese indigo Rebecca Burgess method; zinnia
Middle row: Japanese indigo (no heat Method), marigold, ‘Cherry Brandy’ rubeckia
Bottom row: dahlia, Alcea rosea ‘Nigra’ black hollyhock.
I have a freezer full of blooms and the plants are still producing more, we are hoping for a second crop of Japanese indigo leaves to produce our Sea Foam Blue dye. What a fun summer!
Photos by Christina and Roberta