As my new dye garden is so small I have had to limit the number of dye plants I grow. So I have decided to grow only native dye plants, or plants like woad and madder that were introduced into Britain at an early date.
Last year the woad crop was very disappointing. No self-seeded woad plants grew and the seeds I sowed produced only a few plants. However, this year has made up for it and I have many woad plants growing well. Weld, too, has grown better this year.
Weld in flower
The dyer’s madder is in a separate bed, as it can be very invasive, but the bedstraws are developing well in the dye garden. I have hedge bedstraw (Galium mollugo, also known as Galium album), lady’s bedstraw (Galium verum) and northern bedstraw (Galium boreale). I have also managed to find a supplier of plants of wild madder (Rubia peregrina) so I hope the plants I bought will thrive. (The supplier was www.wildflowers.co.uk and they will send plants overseas although that can be very expensive.)
Lady’s bedstraw with woad in the background
Wild madder in a pot with woad and saw-wort in the background
The dyer’s broom (Genista tinctoria) is just coming into flower and the saw-wort (Serratula tinctoria) is also starting to flower.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
The yarrow is growing really well this year.