Friday, February 19, 2010

Dyeplants for 2010

Making my notes in one place about what I've got in the yard for dyeplants in 2010.

For dyeplants, I've got Northern Bedstraw (Galium boreale) in place of Madder for reds; it will not have nearly as strong of a color but it's native to this area. So is alumroot (Heuchera americana), so I've got that planted, if I get a chance to experiment I'd like to see what kind of colorfastness I can get from its roots. Although I imagine the amount of alum in any given year has a lot to do with soil composition and growing conditions, so I'll still use store-bought alum for anything I want to know is mordanted properly. Sunflowers are also native to the area, and I was able to get some Hopi Dye Sunflower seeds; it will be interesting to see what color I can get from them. We have a wonderful red mulberry tree (Morus rubra) in the yard, but my attempts at getting good berry color last year resulted in nothing but an ugly pinkish gray - obviously I made some mistakes...

Non-native plants I added include Dyer's Coreopsis (some Coreopsis species are native to the area, but not that one). Although I got the seeds from Park Seeds, a large company, so I don't know if they'll even be the right species. I also have daylilies (they've naturalized in the neighborhood); I got an absolutely beautiful clear yellow from their spent flowers last year. We have a delicious rhubarb (much better than anything we get from the store) that's been in our yard since before we bought the house, but it's so good I hate to dig up its roots for dye! The patch in the front yard probably does need to be divided this year anyway, though.

I'm starting onion seeds (I hope, I didn't order them yet!) but they're a biennial, so I won't have my own home-grown onion peels until the end of summer 2011... so they don't really count.

I know I've got a few more that I'm forgetting; guess I'll have to come append to this post later on! Doesn't do much good to have my list in one spot if it's not complete yet...

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