In The Dye Garden

A quick update to what is happening in the Saxon Weavers’ dye garden now that Spring has sprung.

Firstly, the Weld, kindly given to me last year as baby plants. It’s growing so fast you can almost see it! I had to put a barrier around it as the pigeons kept pecking at it but it’s grown so much now I think it’s safe to remove the protective wigwam. The Woad is doing very well indeed. These are the seeds saved from 2020 when I had a good crop. Last years were ravaged by the cabbage white caterpillars and practically everything else that could attack it, including moles. So this year it will stay in its netted cage and the caterpillars can feast elsewhere in the garden. I think pretty much every seed I planted has grown and that’s only about half of what I have in store, a good crop.

The Dyer’s chamomile has done exceptionally well and has rooted itself in several places so I have been able to transplant some and make a larger patch. The Dyer’s Greenweed has finally grown to a size where it can be used. I grew these from seed and this is their third year. Very slow growing so I might take a small amount to do some test dying later in the season. And we mustn’t forget the Flax. I planted around 10 square metres so hopefully the crop will be good this year. I still have last years to process yet! A project for Treehouse this year maybe?

And last but not least, I purchased a Jacob sheep fleece from Benridge Woolworks. ( “Backing British farmers, supporting British wool & supporting local communities.”) After processing the eight, could be nine, fleeces I had in storage I promised to only buy one a year to process from scratch. The rest I will buy in ready washed and carded and ready to spin. It just takes far too long to process from raw and I need the spun wool for lots of weaving projects; however, I also need raw fleece to be able to demonstrate at events, just not 9 of them! The Jacobs is already skirted and sorted into separate colours and the first batch is in the suint bath. It certainly was a huge sheep! Looking forward to combing and spinning it.