The beauty of native plants

“To be native to a place we must learn to speak its language.”
― Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants

wilde peen

one of the most beautiful flowers to look at and the most photogenic

wild carrot, bird’s nest, bishop’s lace, Queen Anne’s lace

yesterday's wild harvest - life at Urd ar Brunnr

On my walk yesterday I found: Queen Anne’s lace, still blooming, wild plum twigs with lichen, St. John’s wort flowering for a second time, Blackthorn berries. All are great dye materials


These common roll-rim mushrooms grow in my garden (Paxilus involutus). I want to try and see if it’s a good dye mushroom, probably it will give some yellow.

harvesting alder inner bark - shades of lynx

End of summer is a good time to harvest barks, there are plenty of alder trees here and one or two branches will give me enough material to dye with.

The magic colour of the Alder inner bark:

When you cut an alder branch and remove the inner bark the wood is white first, but very quickly it turns to a bright reddish orange.
To the ancients, the Alder was particularly revered, for it appeared to bleed like humans.

I usually let the bark soak for many months before I use it as a dye (without modifiers: dark yellow on wool and rusty brown on cotton)

alder, aulne, els, erle, aliso
(Alnus glutinosa)

“Of course, it’s always been known (especially amongst the old-ones) that alder trees in the most primeval, remote and wild sites, have fairy or elf doors in their trunks just above the water line, and these are entrances into faere kingdoms, gateways into the Underworld.”

harvesting Amaranthus hopi red dye

The last of the dye plants in the garden are being harvested too, like these Amaranthus Hopi red dye

preparing fermented dyes

But I still have a lot of fermented plant juices waiting for some yarn to be dyed with, I will show the results of my last dyes of summer soon


2 thoughts on “The beauty of native plants

  1. Le bois d’aulne semble réagir comme le cerisier mahaleb (ou cerisier de sainte Lucie) : il “saigne” quand on le coupe (en outre il a un parfum proche de celui de l’amande amère). Le bois de sainte Lucie, je le laisse macérer longtemps sans rien ajouter non plus, il donne des tons orangés à rosés, un peu saumonés. Au printemps, avec les châtons de l’aulne on obtient des tons de miel magnifiques.
    Les prunelles donnent peu de colorant (c’est la peau seulement qui colore), en revanche, une année j’avais fait macérer des prunelles dans l’alcool, on ne les a pas consommées et l’alcool m’a servi pour extraire le colorant de la racine d’orcanette !
    Je vois que toi aussi te te laisses envahir par les petits pots…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. marylenelynx

      Merci Clothogancho pour le partage et l’inspiration !
      Tout l’univers des plantes tinctoriales continue à m’émerveiller, un peu plus chaque année…


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