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Natural Dyeing - Kidney Beans

This doesn't exactly qualify as a 'colour of Northern Ireland' although possibly kidney beans could grow here, I don't know. I never grew them so I couldn't tell you. Possibly they might take a greenhouse to cultivate as it never gets very warm here. But after 2 attempts at a very small trial run of a greenhouse I have given up. Although it was equipped with extra clips and double sheets of polycarbonate around the sides, with the addition of a wind-break. Just in case you don't believe me here's a quick video clip of it blowing down for the second and final time in a 70 mph wind last Winter. Thankfully now replaced with a PLASTIC low-to-the-ground poly-tunnel arrangement, which is still st

Natural Dyeing - Beech Leaves

Out on a walk in Co. Down, during the last week of October I noted that the beech leaves were still really green, although turning Autumn shades towards the tops of the trees. This is the same area that is in the video, and you will recognise this photo if you've watched it. I gathered a large bag and felt rather guilty as I did so, but on reflection the leaves are goig to be falling any day now anyway so I only helped them along a bit. When home, I stuffed the dye pot to the top, and left soaking overnight. I used 1:1 ratio (wool to dry weight of leaves). Next morning, gentle simmer for an hour, and strained off the dye. A surprising depth of colour in the water for a bag of end-of-the-sea

Natural Dyeing - Horsetail

That's 'Equisetum' in Latin, and it's a native plant in most parts of the world except for Australia, or so I have read. There are other varieties of Horsetail in the world that grow really tall, up to 8m, but this is the 'wee' variety! Common along the lanes here in Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. I'm going back a little to around the middle of July with this picture. I wouldn't bother trying to dye with the plant after the end of Summer as it's dye value will be a lot less. It's a weed frankly, and I wouldn't give it space in my garden as it's hard to get rid of. It actually sprouts up through the tarmac drive. I even sprayed it with a noxious chemical but it lived on. So what to

Natural Dyeing - Ivy Leaves

A sunless day, although I think the sun was up there somewhere this afternoon. Not that you would actually know that.. but it was sort of bright, and not raining, which was nice. Only about 4 more weeks until the shortest day of the year, and by 3.30pm the sun was just resting on the horizon, making driving difficult. So what to do with a damp and very short day? Cook ivy. Our son looked at the pot when he came in, rather worried, and asked 'is this dinner?' Interesting smell, but we've smelt worse. One recent winter edition of a glossy gardening magazine actually had an article in it on 'how to grow ivy'. I kid you not. My eyes popped. I actually paid money for this magazine. Instructions

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