Sea Green and Sapphire

A blog about a love of colour, addiction to fabrics and joy of crafting…

Harvesting Colour


Flower Harvest in My Dyeing Garden

All that hard work in the spring is beginning to pay off, and now almost every day there’s something to harvest in my kitchen garden. Today I thought I’ll give you a tour of how my dye plants are doing.

My Kitchen and Dye Garden

All my raised beds had to be carefully netted as there is a gang of bunny rabbits who like hanging around there. The netting certainly works against the rabbits, however I’ve now discovered some very beautiful bambi-style deer like hanging around there too. They’ve nibbled my newly planted apple trees and some of my raspberries too, which I am very upset about.  Luckily so far they’ve left my dyeing plants alone.

My woad patch

Woad, Isatis tinctoria

My woad patch is doing well and needs to be thinned. I’ve already picked some of the smaller plants out, and they are sitting in a bucket with some water at the moment until I decide what to do with them. Apparently even the small plants already contain some blue colour so it may be worth making an indigo vat with them. But as I haven’t got that many leaves just yet, I might freeze the leaves until I have more of them. I’ve also planted a few of the thinnings in plastic pots, as an experiment, to see if they survive. They looked very unhappy for a day or two but I think they are picking up now. So I think I will plant the rest of the thinnings in pots, I just don’t want to lose any of my precious plants!

Anthemis tinctoria, Dyer's Chamomile

Anthemis tinctoria, Dyer’s Camomile

As there are some many natural plants in my garden – many of them weeds – that give you yellows it is almost not worth growing any just for that purpose. Weld (Reseda luteola) is of course the classic plant for yellow but mine just didn’t germinate, I don’t know what I did wrong.

Another dye plant for yellow is dyer’s chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria). It is such a cheerful looking plant that it definitely earns its space in the raised beds. Hoverflies and butterflies love it too.

Tagetes erecta in my dye garden

Tagetes erecta

Tickseed, Coreopsis tinctoria

I used to think tickseed was a pretty garish looking plant – until I saw Coreopsis tinctoria. It is a lovely airy sort of plant, and all the flowers seem to vary from plant to plant. Some have thin petals, others more substantial ones. If you like naturalistic sort of planting style, I definitely recommend it, it would look wonderful with different types of grasses. I grow mine in the kitchen garden because if they were in the flower beds, I wouldn’t want to pick the flowers. Now I love my daily round of harvesting them.

Tickseed flower harvest

I pick the flowers every day or two, depending on the weather. As each little harvest does not yield an awful lot of flowers, I dry them and hopefully by the end of the summer I have a sufficient quantity for dyeing.

Harvesting Colour

A day’s worth of flowers and vegetables

Flowers picked from my dye garden for drying

Dye flowers ready to be dried


Author: Heidi

I love colour wherever I find it, in art, photography, gardens, nature. I also love all kinds of fiber arts; spinning, dyeing, knitting, felting, sewing.

4 thoughts on “Harvesting Colour

  1. Absolutey gorgeous garden. I love it!

  2. Thank you so much! A big garden with a greenhouse has been one of my dreams for many years, so it is wonderful to finally have enough room to play 🙂

  3. Beautiful! So informative and inspiring! My garden succumbed to drought last year, and this year it’s just overgrown, but you’ve got me thinking I should give it another try.

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