Goodbye to the Cotswolds in March…
Just a two weeks later, the Rideau Canal is filled again and the old elm sees its reflection:
The spring garden is slow this year, five weeks later than in 2012. Iris, perennial géranium and tulips are growing well – all of them ready to give colour in the dye pot.(The iron sculptures are by my husband- he calls them “Peony” . This year, I will wrap them with cloth and plants to make a print. ..See the toad on guard, too, on his plastic perch with a rock from Wharfdale)
Some old friends did not make it. Two mature blue Italian plum trees got too much Black Knot and we had to cut them down. We were sad. This is what they looked like afterwards, waiting for the first outdoor dye session:
And close up:
Amazing colours! Bark and wood dyes this spring, clearly. And prunings from the Concord grape.
Other dye plants:
Rhubarb leaves are a traditional mordant for cellulose fibres but are poisonous (oxalic acid). I prefer sumac – it is plentiful, easy to use, and a native plant besides. Using native plants is one of my aims in dyeing.
Alpine Strawberry is good as ground cover – it selfseeds, too. It makes a lovely clear print.
Perennial geranium, oh so dependable in the eco print bundle. I dug some up out of the snow in January and it was still green – and it printed greeny-yellow, like …
The Tulipa Tarda was tardy indeed this year. I will not print it- too lovely to pick and too few in my garden.
The crocus prints beautifully, petal, stamen and leaf. Plenty of those!
But I have to wait some weeks longer for other plants to print…the trusty Bergenia is up but not much else on the long border beside the canal pond.
Buds, branches, barks, catkins. This late spring is giving me many of these to print while waiting for leaves and blossoms. But it is spring nevertheless and the robin is back in the dye garden.
While waiting for the garden to provide, I forage in the kitchen. These accordions were printed with black tea and bits of iron on 140 lb. water colour paper, Saint Armand “Canal” paper (somewhere between 140 and 80 lb. in the weight) and 80 lb drawing paper. The papers were steamed after soaking briefly in alum acetate mordant.
Taylor's of Harrogate black tea, Darjeeling, dried leaves.
Last views: Cotswold memories:
An ancient yew avenue in a church yard in Painswick, Gloucestershire
Tiny daffodils in a stone planter. The streets through the village are so narrow that the front gardens can only be made in wee pots on the front steps of a house or on the sidewalks.
Tabitha's Well in Painswick. The Celandine grows abundantly there. The water runs down a steep hill to a river where the woollen mills used to be.
Next post: The tea-stained accordions will be…?