Garden is ready for winter. We have had frosty nights and day temperatures are close to zero, but no snow yet. Many plants are still green, above wild Hedge Bedstraw (Galium mollugo) and yarrow (Achillea millefolium) leaves. Both plants give color, red and yellow.
Madder leaves are dyeing and brown. Some of my plants are three years old and now it would be a good time to lift them up for dyeing, but I will leave them at least until spring. Then it is easier to replant the smaller roots. These old plants also flowered this summer, and in August I noticed seeds developing, but when I checked them next time in the end of September, the seeds had vanished, either somone had eaten them or they had fallen off. Next year I have to be more careful with them!
I could also dye with these dyed leaves of madder. According to Jenny Dean's Wild Color they yield coral pink, but I haven't had time to try them out.
My most important dyeplant, Japanese indigo (Persicaria tinctoria) has now died, but some woad plants which accidentally grew in the same bed, are still green.
Woad photographed in the beginning of October, and in spite of the feezing nights, it was still green a week ago (first week of November), when I harvested the rest of the leaves and dyed with them. I got 2,5kg of leaves and dyed 500grams of medium blue yarn from them. Perhaps the leaves were a little damaged by frosts, because I think I got darker blue from the same amount of leaves earlier. Anyway, I am pleased with the color I got:)
Kokeiltavaa ja värjättävää on niin paljon ja aikaa liian vähän. Toinen kasvi, jonka kokeilut eivät onnistuneet, on japanilainen väriheinä Arthraxon hispidus, jonka kasvatus kyllä onnistui helposti ja se kasvoi hyvin, mutta ehdin kokeilla sitä vasta kun se oli jo kukkinut jonkin aikaa ja teki siementä, enkä saanut lehdistä enää kuin aika vaaleaa väriä. Nähtävästi värjäysajankohta oli liian myöhäinen. Onneksi kuitenkin sain siemeniä ja sitä on kylvettävä uudelleen ensi keväänä.. ja oltava ajoissa värjäyksen suhteen.
I didn't have time to try some of my dyeplants at all this summer, like the Dyer's Greenweed (Genista tinctoria) above. I have grown several plants of them from seeds, but luckily the are long-lived and bigger next summer, and there is more to harvest from them:)
There is so much to experiment and dye and always so little time. Another plant which I failed to harvest in time this summer, was Japanese Grass, Arthraxon hispidus. It was easy to grow and it grew well, but I didn't have time to harvest it until it was already flowering and going to seed, and so I only got very pale yellow from it. I was propably too late, but luckily I got seeds from it and I'll try again next summer ... and try to be in time then, before the flower stalks come up.
Vaikka viimeisessä kuvassa on syksyn kuuraa, se on silti minulle kevään odotusta. Jouluruusut varjopuutarhassa ovat eräitä rakkaimmista kasveistani, ne ovat yhtä ihania mihin vuodenaikaan tahansa, ja niiden kanssa kevät tulee aikaisin.
Even though this last picture has autumn frost, it is still an image of hope of spring to me. My Hellebores in the woodland garden are one of my most favourite plants, I will never get tired of them, no matter what the season, and they bring spring with their flowers.