Tag Archives: Iris

Who’d Have Thought….

Don’t you just love a surprise ?

We have recently had a spell of heavy rain, just as the dark iris were in full swing.

Unknown allotment

They ended up getting soggier by the day and dripping with dark juice.

I have recently been reading ‘Eco Colour by India Flint ‘. It’s a fascinating book, India has been using native plants from around her Australian countryside to explore the process of natural dye stuffs with some amazing results.

eco book

So I was wondering, as you do, what could I do with all this lovely looking dye. I’d already had a go at cold bundling various types of plant stuff into pre-mordanted damp fabric and had a good reaction. This process meant wrapping and twisting layers of damp fabric and plant material together then tying it up tight. Water was sprayed on to it  regularly to keep it moist. After leaving for a few days it was unwrapped and dried away from sunlight. The picture doesn’t really do the colour justice as they are more intense than this.

plant dye samples

These were all done on natural fabrics, cotton, silk and muslin. But the lure of these soggy iris blooms was too much. After collecting and leaving said soggyness in a Kilner jar for a few days I ended up with a jar of what looked like brown beer brewing, rain water was added to this and all went into a large old disused jam pan, I was then able to dye a bigger load, again all natural fabrics, pre mordanted in Alum solution. Well imagine my surprise when the fabric hit the liquid it turned all shades of blue. I kept all this together in the shady part of my greenhouse under the staging for about a week, just about all the liquid had soaked in and evaporated to leave lots of lovely staining and dark marks where some of the soggy blooms had been laying.

I’m thinking of using the fabric to cover some books I have in mind to make. So now I’m looking at all other plants to see if they have any potential for the same process…watch this space. Sue



Filed under Eco Colour India Flint, Eco plant Dying

Garden Open

It’s been ages since I posted anything. It’s been all systems go here for the past month or so. Mr Malc has been repairing fence post and trellis, getting the grass to look presentable and we have pulled so much spanish bluebell foliage up I don’t want to see anymore.


Even the greenhouse has had a makeover. Looking through the back windows you can see large clay pots looking like they are on a slippery slope. Well that has all changed, the shelving that was in the greenhouse has now gone behind it and a new staging rescued from the allotment now sits along the back of the greenhouse, this will accommodate all of the Auricula from the ladders during the summer. Note the wheelbarrow full of gravel, we had to empty the other staging before we could move it. We don’t do things by halves….


The greenhouse nearly finished.


All up and running much more usable space. Excuse the wooden window in the back….Talking of which I may even clean the windows…

Taking time out from all this work, around the garden, summer is proving bountiful already.



The Hay Basket is filling nicely with petunias and bijou sweetpeas and to follow, trailing begonia. The Birdcage is looking pretty with pink petunia and purple verbena.

I was a 60s teenager and the colours we wore then have in some way shaped the colours of my garden. I love putting orange with pink and purple, somehow it always looks right.


Pink peony and orange wallflower


Orange poppies and a purple iris


Orange wallflower with purple alliums and red salvia.

Also this year I have a good crop of apricots, keeping my fingers crossed, I don’t lose any. In the past 4 years since I have had this I have only had 4 apricots off, but this year I’ve counted 20+. Planted on a south facing fence and grown as an espalier with two tiers.


And to finish…..Last year my sister in law gave me a seedling of meconopsis baileyi…and look what I found this week. A perfect end to a busy week.


And for all my followers who are local here is the poster for the trail….hope to see you ….

Beeston Garden Trail


Filed under From The Sewing Room To The Potting Shed

More Dark Matter.

There seems to be eruptions of one colour and the garden has in certain places took a dark turn.


      An unnamed Iris, rescued from an abandoned allotment several years ago.


    Eucomis, looks like a good year. Several more shoots showing too.


    Thalictrum Aquilegiifolium, I have several with these lovely dark purple stems growing to about 150 cms tall. Always goes quick on my plant stall.


    Cotinus Royal Purple. Beautiful foliage in early summer and again in the autumn.



        Grown from mixed seed from Plant World about 5 years ago, the original is now in my daughters garden and grows to about 120 cms tall. This is a cutting from the original taken last year. A large plant when fully grown and very impressive.


    Euphorbia Amygdaloides ‘Purpurea’  a little common and slightly invasive, but in the right situation sets off oranges and yellows. I’ve just noticed the tiny coral coloured flowers….. quite cute.

So I wonder what will be the next fashionable colour in the garden. ….Watch this space.



Filed under Uncategorized