Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The sentence of death for weld

These fabulous-well to a natural dyer they are fabulous- lovely weld plants are under sentence of death- the reason?  They are growing in Enys's green house.  She tells me she tried to germinate some weld seed a couple of years ago, they failed, she cast them on the greenhouse floor and her DH dug the ground for his tomatoes and .....Weld! Enys says she will try and transplant them but they have very very very long roots.
For some time now she has been nurturing madder in pots.  Amazing to think  these rather uninspiring looking  plants can produce of the greatest of dyes.  These plants are two years old and so only really need another year or possibly two. before they can be used .    Enys is going to give them a haircut this is,  she tells me,  to encourage growth. 
The other plant is Coreopsis sp one of my favourites as it makes  a lovely vibrant orange with ammonia.  
If you have clicked on the links to see the colour you can get  get from these you can see why I am really keen on them all.  I hope the weld plants survive being transplanted  I had very little weld last year and I really missed it. 

Oh! and Happy New year to all my readers  followers and friends .
May you be fulfilled 
and happy


  1. I grew weld, many years ago, in my garden, used them to dye with and got fed up with yellow! My husband dug them up anyway, even if I'd wanted to keep them, but they grew everywhere! In any nook and cranny, despite their roots!
    We used to be able to pick weld along the railway track, but wanted some a couple of years ago, and couldn't find any, we drove all over the area looking for it, but sadly, none!

  2. I hope the weld can be rescued! Enys's plants look good and healthy.

    My madder is out in the garden, I hope it is o.k. in the frozen ground. I had to re-plant last year as the first patch of garden I chose was too wet and the plants died.

  3. Do you know where one can buy madder seeds? I'd love to grow some and I'm sure Suffolk Herbs used to sell them but couldn't see them last time I looked.

  4. Hi Alison I always say weld has a will of it it's own and puts itself where it wants to be and not where you want it. Madder should be fine -it comes from a region with very cold winters so I am sure it will be fine. Liz I think Chiltern seeds sell the madder seeds but I heard that the suppliers madder crop failed last year . We now find it easier to propagate the plants rather than sew seeds-not much help I am afraid as you have to have the plants to start with.

  5. Helen, thanks - I'll keep my eyes open for some!

  6. funny that you wrote about the humble looking madder! I recently thought about the fact, that most dye plants don't really look spectacular! which might have to do that they were grown/collected for their dye purpose and not bred further to enhance their looks? the one plant that looks super (at least in flower) is impatiens tinctoria, but it was so difficult to get my single plant (of which I am not sure that it'll survive this years massive frost:(() that I don't dare to use it in dyeing....
    a happy new year to you and your family
    from ireland


  7. Hi Bettina I had really had not taught of that connection between the humbleness of dye plants and what they were bred for-many thanks for that point.
    Happy new year to you you really do seem to have a blast form the Arctic with your weather . Our weather is usually just a little milder than Northern Ireland. I haven't grown inpatiens Tinctoria but I agree with you I often don't want to use them when they are very pretty.