September 23, 2011

My Dye Garden

A sunflower from my dyed garden.  Ready to be harvested.

So my plan for the spring was to build a dye garden so I could collect flowers for natural dying yarn and fibers.  Well, things didn't go as planned.  I dug (well the husband helped) a spot on the side of out house for the garden.  There was a regular plant and flower garden in that spot just not the kind used for dying.  I dug up the dye garden spot later in the season then I planned, lets say sometime in June. 

I had planned out where each type of flower would go but when I went to get seeds at a local flower place they didn't have what I wanted so I picked up substitutes.  Insead of planning where the new types of seed would go I just looked at what was tall and layed out those seeds in the back and the shorter ones in the front.  Next year I may have to order some seeds so I have what I want.

The first sprouts in my dye garden.

The flowers finally started to grow but didn't bloom as much as I thought they would.  I didn't get as many blossoms as I hoped but got some.  The sunflowers did the best.  I also got cosmos and a few marigolds.  The black-eyed Susan's didn't do well at all.   There are a few sunflowers, cosmos and marigolds left that I will be harvesting on Sunday.  Then there are a few that I forgot to cut.  It is best to gather your blossoms when they are at full peak which I didn't always do.

The current state of my dye garden.

I am going to freeze the flowers to use when I get enough to dye some fibers.  That may just be after next harvest season.  You need a lot of flowers to dye only a little bit of fiber.  I have however been saving my avocado skins and pit for dying.  I have also been collecting bark from my birch trees.  I will let you know how things turn out when I use the avocado and birch bark for dying.  What natural dying have you done?  Let a comment (with a link if so) I would like to know.


  1. I love marigolds for dyeing. They don't need very good soil and seem to grow well here in New England. My son sent me some eucalyptus and I boiled it up in an enamel pot with an old rusty car spring - totally awesome!

    1. Sounds wonderful. Thanks for visiting here.