Dye bed progress

The dye bed is looking like a… dye bed. Liz has done a magnificent job of raising from seed coreopsis, Japanese indigo, woad and a field’s worth of hollyhocks – which might end up taking over the whole site. We’ve also got safflower which I’ve sown but which might be a bit tender for our rough climate. The weld I sowed last year (it was very reluctant to germinate but has stormed ahead this year) is nearly ready for harvesting. We’ve also got dahlias, beetroot (a variety called Bull’s Blood which has deep red leaves and – at the moment – promisingly bright pink roots. Oh, and of course the calendula, which makes an orange border along the whole length of the bed.

Next to the bed we have sown a stand of flax which seems to put up with all weather conditions. It is a wonderful plant. Not only can you make linen thread (or, more likely in our case, the less refined, but equally important, string) from it, but it is also attractive to us and to bees and of course produces linseed, which is full of Omega 3, which is Good. My ambition is to process the flax, turn it into string and dye it red or blue or yellow…

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