An Eco Dyer’s June Garden

The garden I collect my dye plants from has been over 25 years in the making. My husband has a penchant for creating quirkily beautiful sculptures to place among the plants. It's not a garden you can see all at once – it is long and narrow but twisty with odd little angles and corners to turn except for a long, long border beside the Rideau Canal inlet pond. So over time, I have developed many small areas with a sculpture or other ornament as a focal point. The experience is of passing through many gardens but not necessarily dye gardens.

Classical plant nomenclature would attach “tinctoria” to the name of any plant known to tradition as a dye plant. I do not have many of those “official” dye plants, only two in fact: Coreopsis t. and Anthemis t. Since starting to work with eco dyes, I have come to know that virtually every plant can produce some colour on a substrate, given appropriate preparation, dye processing and post- dye treatments. But It will take me quite some time to learn about the eco dyes and print properties of all the plants and their parts in my garden: fresh, dried, leaf, stalk, bloom, seed, root, bark: these all come into the colourplay, as do other aspects of the craft such as appropriate processing times and methods, dye assistants and mordants, fibre type and age…Still, with experience and the help of other dyers' knowledge generously shared, I can begin to feel confident that I might contribute something to the field.

So once a month throughout the season, I thought I could show you some of the plants that grow nicely here and some I use for my dyeing and printing experiments and projects.

Clicking on the link below takes you to a web album of my garden photos for June.

About wendyfe

I am a fibre artist working in mixed media textiles with a focus on vintage cloth reworked with stitching, natural dyeing, eco printing and rust printing . My work can be seen at
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13 Responses to An Eco Dyer’s June Garden

  1. Pia says:

    Thanks for showing your wonderful garden! Very inspirational!

    • wendyfe says:

      Thank you, Pia!

      I often feel that the garden is what pushes me to all the art I do, and have done. It truly is my most enduring passion

  2. arlee says:

    A wonderful idea, Wendy. And i can’t wait to replant mine–sadly my Coreopsis with the dye properties was the one thing that curled up its toes and gave up the ghost…..

  3. Another wonderful entry, your garden looks fascinating.
    When are you going to write a book, your blog is always so interesting and inspirational

  4. Susana Peñaloza says:

    Muchas Gracias por las enseñanzas y los Tips. Las fotos son preciosas ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡ Un abrazo desde Chile, Susana

  5. Chimo says:

    Enjoyed reading your article in Somerset Studios … very nice pictures included … too bad your text isn’t as you had submitted. This will give great exposure to your plant pigment dye techniques and book constructions. I’m just happy to say : ” I knew her when ….”
    Thanks so much for sharing all that you do.

    • wendyfe says:

      Ha ha, Jennifer!

      I will try not to let fame get to my head. For sure I will have a go with water-removable adhesives to attach plants to their substrates, if only as experiment. Just as long as people realize that PVA would glue your teeth back in…so they would not easily unstick a leaf from a paper substrate.


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