April Adieux

At the start of the month of April, the Kaleyard was not without some ragged post-winter charm:


After the spring clean-up:

CleanKaleyradSpring2015Meanwhile, the indoor dye garden is growing.

First. Japanese indigo (Persicaria tinctoria). I layered the long stems to encourage rooting at the nodes of the one plant that survived the winter indoors (most of them dried out while we were away in January, no reflection on the plant’s vigorous survival mechanisms)

JapIndiogoPlantThe seedlings from last year’s crop of Japanese indigo seeds are appearing:

JapIndigoSeedlingsAnd perhaps some seeds have survived the rigours of the winter outside: on verra! After the winter the leaves have taken on that teal colour of the Japanese indigo that I harvested three times last year and dried.

JapIndiOutsideSeedlingsOther dye plants from saved seeds:

Baptisia australis:

BaptisiaSeedlingsTagetes pumila (Lemon Gem marigold):

LemonGemSeedlingsThe beloved black kale ‘Lacinato’:

KaleSeedlingsAnd the Indigo indigofera that I started from seed last year and kept as a pet in a pot:

IndigoPlantHere are some Indigo indigofera prints on paper with rust; the indigo is from the pre-reduced crystals:

IndigopapersSome old favourites of mine, the red amaranth that Hopi Indians used  for colour. I had them in my old garden where they self seeded abundantly; here, for my new garden which will be in its second summer in 2015 , I bought seeds:

RedAmaranthSeeddlingsAnd now as promised, here are some more images of the making of the Chinese Thread Book reported in my last post. First, better image of the first of Ruth Smith’s books on the Miao needle case:
And a second book by Ruth Smith (both sent to me by Kit Tyrrell in the UK, so kind!) on other structures similar:

Some of my trials before making the finished version. I tried several kinds of paper and book cloth before I made my own book cloth from mulberry paper and eco dyed and rusted linen tablecloth damask, recycled of course. I keep my “trials” in a project box so that I can refer back to the experiments as well as my instructions to myself for the completed work. (If you think you will remember…ha ha…):

ThreadBkTrialsMore trials:

TrialBoxAnd on leaving the cool and cruel month of April, let’s say goodbye to the lovely bloodroot which has begun dropping its white petals:

BloodrootApril2015Next time:

I am experimenting with eco dyeing on cheapo cotton knit from the auto parts store (sold for polishing cars). It comes in one metre lengths and in tubular form. At 99 cents a metre on sale…

And perhaps I will get to finish the next in my ‘Botanica’ series of Artist’s Books. The next one is “BOTANICA: Gardenista”. The book is done, and I am planning the case or cover.

Last Word

I have updated my Tutorial Page with one on the basics of eco printing on paper and cloth.

Also, the Dye Plant Page has been updated; I will continue to update it as the plants allow me to photograph them! I am waiting for some of the bushes in my garden to leaf out. I prefer to use my own photos of plants in my garden and environs.

A la prochaine!


9 thoughts on “April Adieux

  1. I love your blog and your sharing attitude, Wendy! Nice to see your garden beginning again after your move. I think it’s cute the way you keep an indigofera as a pet! My garden is a little further along here on the West Coast. The coreopsis and Japanese indigo seedlings are in, the one woad I left is flowering and the madder is a foot tall. Every year is a new adventure!

  2. I love to visit your blog, This year I’ve planted Indigo seeds directly into the garden and some in a pot to see how they do. Seeing all the plants you are starting is exciting so we will be trying more things next year. Thanks for sharing so much.

  3. Thank you for all the information you share. I am about to start up some seedllngs for a dyeing garden so thank you for all the suggestions.

  4. The indigo seeds you sent have sprouted! I shall keep some in a pot for overwintering, and plant some in my new dye bed with the dyer’s chamomile, tansy, woad, corespis and safflower.

  5. Oh, YAY, arlee! They have a poor reputation for viability! Those seeds were from 2013. Almost none of the ones I saved from last year (2014) sprouted. BUT take heart, the ones I grew outdoors last year in a planter self seeded so I will have about a dozen. If you layer them, they will sprout at every node. In water in warm weather, the nodes on cut plants grow roots within a couple of days and even bloom in the bucket. They have a will to live!

    1. Good to know about the layering, thank you. I’m babying these right now under full spectrum lights in their own little greenhouse 🙂

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