Feature Plant for April: Versatile Salvias

Flowering Salvias are my new passion and are my feature plant for April, even though May has just begun!!! While I have always known about the culinary herb sage, Salvia  officinalis, with its fragrant grey-green leaves and spikes of pretty mauve flowers (photo below), I knew very little about its flowering cousins. In fact, I don’t think that they were even on my radar until we lived down south.BlogSalvias2514-11-26 16.37.51 My first introduction to them was the Salvia Collection in the Geelong Botanic Gardens in 2012 (photo below), so when we were developing our new garden in Candelo, salvias were definitely on the list of desired plants!BlogSalvias50%IMG_1550 While I have bought the odd specimen, most of my salvias have been struck from cuttings from my sister’s gardens and while some of the seedlings from plants in her South East Queensland garden have since died, all the ones from her Tenterfield garden are flourishing, due to their ability to either withstand or recuperate from frost! The photo below shows my salvia collection in my Moon Bed.BlogSalvias3018-02-08 08.29.28Salvia is the largest genus in the mint family (Laminaceae)  and includes over 900 species from herbaceous shrubs to perennials, biennials and annuals, and there is a salvia for every climate, environment, season and gardening style! The photo below features salvias with their cousins Mint and Lavender.BlogSalvias2517-12-09 17.57.14Salvias come in a huge variety of form and flower colour, including blue, mauve, cerise, pink, red, white, yellow and orange. Most types bloom from Spring through Summer to Autumn, though there are some Winter-flowering salvias from the cool, mountainous areas of Central and South America.

The genus is distributed throughout Eurasia and the Americas with three distinct hot spots of diversity with 500 species in Central and South America; 250 species in Central Asia and the Mediterranean and 90 species in Eastern Asia. Many species and hybrids easily interbreed, so new cultivated varieties are constantly appearing, resulting in its huge diversity and climatic tolerance. Below is a photo of all the different types of salvias in our garden.BlogSalvias2518-01-31 12.01.00Types:

I have to admit I get very confused when it comes to identifying sages, but here are the names of some of the salvias we grow!

Salvia microphylla, Small-Leafed Sage or Baby Sage or Mountain Sage

One of my favourites for its generosity, being  constantly in bloom, their light airy flowers complementing the roses, both in the garden and in the vase! It has tiny dark green leaves, as indicated by its species name ‘microphylla’ meaning ‘small leaves’, which have a fresh fruity fragrance like those of black currants, giving it its final name, Black Currant Sage.BlogSalvias3018-02-08 08.30.27-2However, it is a very complex species which easily hybridizes, resulting in a huge number hybrids and cultivars, making it very difficult to identify accurately. It has a wide colour range from magentas to rose pink and reds.  Unfortunately, because all my forms were produced from cuttings from my sister’s garden,  I am a bit hazy about their names!

One variety I do know for sure is the unmistakeable bicolour red and white form called ‘Hot Lips’, though it will also throw pure white and pure red blooms.BlogSalvias2017-04-23 18.31.24 Apparently, its  flower colour varies with the weather and water and nutrient availability. Cooler weather and  more nutrients and water result in more red flowers, while heat and nutrient stress in warmer Summer weather results in the blooms turning white.BlogSalvias2518-01-31 12.00.18However, I have a major problem identifying my magenta and deeper red salvias and I’m not the only one! Apparently, Salvia microphylla is often confused with Autumn Sage, S. greggii, with which it frequently hybridizes. Maybe, one of my readers can help me? Here are some photos!

The magenta variety with small fragrant leaves and dark stems:BlogSalvias2016-01-01 00.00.00-140BlogSalvias2518-04-11 16.06.45The red variety with larger more deeply veined rounded leaves and dark stems:BlogSalvias4018-03-29 09.59.08The photo below shows the differences between both varieties: magenta on top, red on the bottom.BlogSalvias2518-01-31 11.59.58However, I do know my Pineapple Sage, S. elegans, especially because it was labelled when I bought it from a nursery!!! I love the pineapple scent of its long, light green pointed leaves and have planted one at the top of my new herb garden next to the path, so that every time the gas bottles are changed, there will be a whiff of its beautiful fragrance! It bears spires of bright red flowers which are highly attractive to birds and butterflies and which bloom for a long time! Growing to 1.5 to 1.8 metres high, it is frost tolerant, though it is more compact in colder climates.BlogSalvias2518-04-11 09.23.54I am a bit more definite about my blue salvias!

‘Indigo Spires’, another labelled nursery purchase, is a hybrid cross between S. longispicata and S. farinacea. It is a large shrub, at 1.5 metres tall and 1 metre wide, and has 30 to 38 cm (12 to 15 inches) long spikes of purple-blue velvety flowers, from early Summer through to late Autumn. While easy to grow, it is not frost tolerant, but it does regrow after frost.BlogSalvias2518-04-11 16.10.26BlogSalvias2016-01-01 00.00.00-129Salvia uliginosa, Bog Salvia, is another tall prolific flowerer, bearing clear sky blue flowers on long stalks all Summer and Autumn. It is one of the few salvias, which likes wet feet, though it will still grow in dry conditions, though probably not as tall and unruly!BlogSalvias3018-03-03 10.09.25-2BlogSalvias25%IMG_4994I think my third blue salvia is Salvia x chamelaeagnea “African Sky”, a cross between two South African species, Salvia scabra and Salvia chamelaeagnea. It has leathery sticky stems and leaves and beautiful soft azure blue flowers on long floppy spikes from late Spring to Autumn.BlogSalvias2518-04-11 16.08.53BlogSalvias2016-01-01 00.00.00-78BlogSalvias2518-04-11 16.09.22Three more blue salvia species I would love to grow and photographed below in order are:

Salvia nemorosa ssp tesquicola with spikes of rich violet flowers set in large lilac bracts from late Spring until Autumn; Gentian Sage, Salvia patens, with its royal blue flowers; and  the attractive Salvia mexicana ‘Limelight’ with its lime green calyces and electric blue flowers and lime green calyces.BlogSalvias2514-11-26 16.27.12BlogSalvias20%IMG_0532BlogSalvias2014-04-06 12.28.16And then, there is the monstrous Rose Leaf Sage, Salvia involucrata Bethelii! This was one of the cuttings I took from my sister’s subtropical garden in South-East Queensland and because I lost its identifying tag, I mistakenly planted it in the Moon Bed, where it then proceeded to grow like Jack-and-the-Bean Stalk, engulfing my poor roses and totally dominating the garden bed! It would have been at least 2.5 metres tall, though they can grow up to 4 metres tall and 1 metre wide!BlogSalvias2017-04-28 11.58.13BlogSalvias2017-04-28 11.50.54It has heart-shaped, long-stalked leaves to 10cm in length and  5cm long, tubular, two-lipped, deep cerise pink flowers, with conspicuous rose-pink bracts, that give it its common name, Roseleaf Sage, and which fall off as the flowers grow bigger. BlogSalvias2017-05-15 15.43.17The Eastern Spinebills LOVED it! This salvia does get frosted, so we propagated some more cuttings last year and this time, we planted them against the fence behind the Moon Bed, where they were free to romp to their hearts’ delight!BlogSalvias2017-05-23 11.54.54BlogSalvias2017-05-23 11.56.26-1For anyone interested in knowing more about the different types of  salvias, it is well worth visiting the Nobelius Heritage Park in Emerald, Victoria, where the Salvia Study Group of Victoria has a wonderful display garden. See: http://salvias.org.au/about-us/. They have a wonderful website, with descriptions of all the different salvia varieties and their suitability for different climates (http://salvias.org.au/lists-of-salvias/) , as well as an excellent Links page (http://salvias.org.au/links/) with links to other sites like: http://www.robinssalvias.com/ (UK); and http://salvias.com.ar/ (Argentina). Another good website is: http://www.salviaspecialist.com/catalog/.

BlogSalvias20%DSCN0753Cultivation and Uses:

Most salvias love well-drained soil and full sun or semi-shade, with some tolerating cold temperatures and frost. Many are drought-tolerant. They are long-flowering, easy to propagate and easy to grow, providing copious nectar for bees and birds. In fact, the labiate design of the salvia flower includes a bottom lip which makes a perfect landing pad for bees. For more about their flower anatomy, see: http://www.worldofsalvias.com/flower1.htm.

BlogSalvias2518-03-29 10.08.10Our salvias are full of the constant buzz of bees from dawn to dusk every day! I particularly love watching the Blue-Banded Bees, Amegilla cingulata, which positively adore the Bog Salvia, though they will never sit still long enough for a decent photograph!BlogSalvias2518-04-05 10.17.44BlogSalvias2016-01-01 00.00.00-54 Butterflies and beetles also love the salvias!BlogSalvias2518-03-03 09.55.57-3BlogSalvias2518-03-31 16.17.24-2BlogSalvias2518-03-03 09.56.28-1BlogSalvias2017-02-09 10.13.43So, salvias are fabulous for encouraging pollinators in the garden! BlogSalvias2518-03-03 10.01.09I also love using them in floral arrangements as fillers and dots of delicate colour, though the flowers of the Bog Salvia often start falling the first day and the flowering stems of the Indigo Spires salvia wilt easily the minute they are cut from the plant! Nevertheless, both provide beautiful colour and contrast in both pastel and bright floral arrangements.BlogSalvias2518-04-14 15.52.44BlogSalvias2518-04-03 08.39.26Culinary Sage, Salvia officinalis, has a long history in the kitchen, being the main ingredient in stuffings for goose and pork dishes, as well as flavouring soups and pâtés.BlogSalvias20%2016-01-01 00.00.00-102.jpg The leaves can be made into a tea for colds and sore throats and gum disease. In fact, ancient herbalists used salvia to cure a multitude of ailments from snake bite to epilepsy, the genus name, ‘Salvia’  deriving from the Latin ‘salvare’, a reference to the plant’s ability to heal. It is also said to enhance memory and lift the mood. See: https://www.healwithfood.org/health-benefits/sage-medicinal-salvia.php.

Clary Sage, Salvia sclarea, also has a strong tradition of medicinal use, the essential oil being used to treat menstrual pain and hormonal imbalances, depression, anxiety and  insomnia, stomach and digestive problems, and kidney complaints. See:  https://draxe.com/clary-sage.

Salvia chamelaeagnea is used to treat colds and coughs, colic and heartburn in the Cape region of South Africa, while the roots of Red Sage, Salvia miltiorrhiza, are highly valued in traditional Chinese medicine to treat cardiovascular disease and chronic renal failure. In Mexico, Salvia microphylla is used as a medicinal and tea plant, while Diviner’s Sage, S. divinorum, is a psychedelic drug , which was used by Mazatec shamans to produce hallucinations and altered states of consciousness during spiritual healing sessions. White Sage, Salvia apiana, was also used in religious ceremonies and purification rituals by Native Americans tribes on the Pacific coast of the United States. The seed is the main ingredient in pinole, a staple food and was also ground into a sticky paste for removing foreign objects from the eye, much in the same way as the Europeans did with Clary Sage. Other medicinal uses include the treatment of colds and fevers, stomach upsets, heavy or painful menstruation and  to promote healing and strength after childbirth. See: http://www.herbcottage.com.au/white-sage.html.

All in all, Salvias are a very useful and beautiful addition to the garden! Next week, I will tell you a little more about our recent trip to Victoria, in which we explored a number of gardens, including the Salvia Display Gardens, mentioned previously in this post!

Oldhouseintheshires

 

Books on Natural Dyeing: Part Three: Dyeing Down Under

My final two books focus on Antipodean Dyeing and it’s interesting that my two books  cover both ends of the time spectrum, the early days of the revival of natural dyeing post synthetic dyes and contemporary textile dyeing using the latest innovative new techniques and ecological considerations.

Dyes From Plants of Australia and New Zealand: A Practical Guide for Craftworkers by Joyce Lloyd 1971/1978

This old book, almost fifty years old now, was one of the early guides to this artform, a time when the brighter synthetic aniline dyes were all the rage! It was written to complement the revival of interest in spinning and hand weaving during the 1960s. After introductory chapters on the ancient history of natural dyes, equipment, fabric preparation and mordants, the book focuses on :

Dye Plants Native to New Zealand;

Dye Plants Native to Australia;

Flower and Vegetable Garden Subjects;

Miscellaneous Dye Subjects; and

Weeds, Herbs and Lichens.

There is a section on using ancient dyes (indigo/ logwood/ madder/ cochineal and woad), as well as brief notes on chemical dyes, general hints and tie-dye techniques. The tiny size of both the latter subject and the source list for ancient dyes (only one supplier in Australia and one in New Zealand and only mail addresses), as well as the presentation of the book and dearth of colour photos and swatches, is an indicator of the age of this book and the infancy stage of this revival of interest in natural dyes, however this book is still valuable for its emphasis on our own native flora, as well as the inclusion of a number of dyestuffs, not mentioned in the other books. For example: Asters, Begonias, Buddleias, Gazanias, Bearded Iris, Rhododendrons, Beetroot, Mint, Passionfruit, Silver Beet, Tamarillos, Grass, Bamboo, Medlars, Pine Trees, Privet, Yew, Seaweed and Tobacco! Really the world’s your oyster!BlogNatlDyeing30%Image (6)

We have come such a long way since then! The efforts of Jenny Dean and Rita Buchanan have been responsible for a large part of this renewal, while India Flint has really popularized contemporary natural dyeing for a new generation of textile artists with her wonderful inspiring workshops and book:

Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles by India Flint 2008.

India is an Australian artist, writer, teacher, sheep farmer, fashion (Prophet of Bloom) and theatre costume designer, and sustainable eco-dyer with over thirty years of experience and artworks in collections and museums in Australia, Latvia and Germany. Every contemporary textile artist should own a copy of this comprehensive and detailed book.

Part One embraces the important concepts of Organic Natural Dyes vs. Toxic Synthetic Chemicals, Regionalism, Renewable Resources, Exploitation in the Logwood and Indigo Trades; Sustainable Harvesting and Recycling of Waste Products (Garbage and Windfalls).

Part Two discusses the work environment, equipment, much of which can be acquired from charity shops, and harvesting and storage of plant materials, as well as occupational health and safety rules.

Part Three focuses on Traditional Dye Materials, presented in table form on thick brown paper with Common and Taxonomic Names and the Parts Used. The use of different paper makes this section  quick and easy to find , its entries organised by colour: Black and Greys; Purples: Flora/ Fauna; Blues; Greens; Yellows and Golds (at three pages, the largest section!); Oranges; Reds: Flora/ Fauna; Pinks: Flora/ Fauna; and Browns. There are also notes about Poisonous Plants; Edible Dye Plants and Edible Plant Dyes for Culinary Magic! I much prefer the thought of using beetroot, onion, calendula, rose leaves, violets and pansies to colour cakes and biscuits rather than synthetic Azo dyes, which have been proven to cause liver cancer and are banned in Europe.

The next section, Part Four, is by far the largest in the book and covers:

Fibre Preparation: 

Wool and Other Animal Fibres, including Cashmere and Mohair (Goats); Angora (Rabbits); Alpaca; Camel; Llama; Yak; Horsehair; Dog and Cat; and even Shatoosh (an Endangered Tibetan Antelope); as well as luxurious Silk ;

Plant Fibres: Cotton (Gossypium hirsutum); Linen (Flax, Linum); Ramie (Boehmeria nivea), Nettle (Urtica), Jute, Sisal (Agave Cactus), Raffia, Pineapple, Reed, Banana and Hemp.

Mordants:

Applied at different stages of the dyeing process (Pre-Mordanting; Co-Mordanting and Post-Mordanting) to fix and enhance colour, improve colour fastness to light, washing and perspiration, prevent colour bleeding and extend the colour range of a dyepot, most mordants are highly toxic and their disposal thereby difficult. Not only is ingestion harmful, but the success of aromatherapy suggests that the presence of harmful chemical residues against our skin is also worth considering.

While alum (usually in the form of Potassium aluminium sulphate) is one of the least harmful of the traditional mordants, being used in pickling and baking powder, India has gone to great lengths to explore alternatives, which include: Urine; Blood; Gelatine; Yoghurt; Tins; Eggs; Ash; Soy Milk; Sea Water; Fermented Fruit Vinegars; Lemon Juice; Compost; Oxidized Wine; Iron Teas; Copper Coins; Cow and Sheep manure; Aqueous Paint Solutions and Seed Oils.

Any plants with ‘tinctoria’  (dyemaking); ‘officinalis’ (medicinal use) as the species name or words like oxalis (oxalic acid) and salix (salicyclic acid eg willow) are worth investigating, as well as plants rich in tannins like oak, pomegranate, spruce, chestnut, wattle,  bracken and mangroves, as well as dock, sorrel, and acorns.

Processing Plant Dyes:

After discussing the disadvantages of traditional boiling, India summarizes the following methods:

Hot Extraction-Hot Processing: Simmer and steep; Multiple extractions; Single extractions by boiling; Concentrated tinctures;

Hot extraction-Cold Processing: Solar dyeing; and Snaplock bag;

Cold Extraction-Cold Processing: Compost dyeing; Ice-flower dyeing; Cold-bundling; and Hapa-zome beating;

Cold Extraction-Hot Processing: Streaming in bundles; Long soaking and steeping; Dry extraction by fermentation before hot processing.

She also discusses Nomadic dyeing; and Plants for sequential extractions (St. John’s Wort; Safflower and Eucalyptus).

Part Five examines some very Special Dye Plant Groups:

Eucalyptus Dyes;

Other Australian Flora:

Mistletoes, Amyema;

Kangaroo Paw, Anigozanthos;

Indigofera australis;

Insects from the Eriococcus family;

Wattle, Acacia;

Kennedia nigricans;

Callistemons;

 Grevilleas;

Quandong, Santalum acuminatum;

Sandalwood, Santalum lanceolatum;

Bracken Fern, Pteridium esculentum;

Morinda citrifolia; and

Thryptomene calycina.

Ice-Flower Dyes:

Freezing flowers in snap-lock bags, then immersing them in lukewarm water with the addition of ash or alum (for blues),  vinegar (for reds) or washing soda, sodium carbonate (for greenish-blues). Suitable flowers include: Petunias, pansies, violets and violas; iris; delphiniums and pelargoniums, while berries include: blackberries, elderberries, raspberries, cherries and Berberis darwinii.

Fruits and Berries: Cold Berry Dyes: The afore-mentioned berries, as well as Mulberries; Blueberries and Solanum nigrum.

Part Six investigates Special Effects:

Cold Bundled Eco-Prints eg Eucalyptus and mistletoe foliage, acacia pods, onion skins; beetroot peelings; bark; tea leaves; coffee grounds; wilted flowers; citrus slices and even, blackberry jelly pulp!

Hot Bundled Ecoprints: Latvian Easter Egg Dyeing;

Hapa-zome Beating Colour into Cloth;

Dyeing Wool Yarn and Sliver, including Ikat Dyeing;

Multicoloured Yarns;

Printing with Plant Dyes;

Shibori and Layered Dyeing: Hexagon (Honeycomb), Tartan and Chequerboard Patterns; and Multicoloured Fabrics;

Resists: Block Printing; Batik; Flour and Egg Resists;

Solar Dyeing; and

Cow and Mud Patties.BlogNatlDyeing2518-04-18 17.01.22In the photos above and below are two scarves dyed using the bundling method. Because I did not dye them myself, I cannot tell you much about the plant matter used, except there was definitely the inclusion of some eucalypt leaves in the silk scarf below!BlogNatlDyeing2518-04-18 17.01.34BlogNatlDyeing2518-04-18 17.01.43Part Seven returns to the importance of ecological sustainability  in Some Other Considerations, with essays on the importance of water, time, safe waste disposal and  the correct care of silk, wool, cotton and other fabrics , so they last as long as possible. The final section, Part Eight, contains a bibliography and useful websites.BlogNatlDyeing3018-02-07 15.23.13I  really love this book, not just for its innovative approach and emphasis on the environment and sustainability, but also its thoroughness, its attention to detail, its invitation to experimentation, its simple and thoughtful explanations and above all, India’s  engaging story-telling style. If you would like to know more about her and her ecodyeing techniques, see:  https://theplanthunter.com.au/people/india-flint/, with her fashion label blog at: http://prophet-of-bloom.blogspot.com.au/.

In response to Tony last week and other readers, who may be wondering about the range of colours produced by eucalypts, here are two interesting and informative websites: https://sallyblake.com/eucalyptus-dyes-1/ and http://anpsa.org.au/APOL8/dec97-6.html!

Next week, I am featuring Flowering Salvias, whose dainty and colourful flowers could be ideal subjects for eco-printing! I have some experimentation ahead of me!!! Until then, Happy Dyeing…naturally, of course!

Books on Natural Dyeing Part Two: Traditional Dyeing

While I love indigo, there are so many other wonderful dye plants, yielding a huge variety of  natural dyes and colours and similarly, a large number of books (though not as many as the plants!) devoted to the subject, again each with a slightly different approach and style.

Jenny Dean is an English  natural dyeing expert, having worked with natural dyes for almost forty years. It is well worth reading her interview with The Wild Dyery at: http://thewilddyery.com/interview-with-jenny-dean/, as well as her blog at http://www.jennydean.co.uk/. In a post at the beginning of the year, she mentioned a tantalising One Year Natural Dyeing Course from March 2018 to February 2019 at Ditchling Museum in East Sussex, but given it started last month, I will have to contend with Jenny’s books instead, of which there are over seventy,  two of which I actually possess! I have also discovered that Wild Dyery runs 12 week online courses, which look really interesting as well. See: http://naturalfabricdyeing.com/, but back to Jenny’s books!

Wild Colour: How to Grow, Prepare and Use Natural Plant Dyes by Jenny Dean 1999

This beautiful hardcover book is divided into three sections:

Introduction: This important chapter covers the theoretical background of natural dyeing from its history:

Origins and evolution of natural dyeing techniques;

Development of medieval guilds of master dyers, trade routes and synthetic dyes;

Dye categories (substantive/ vat and adjective);

Other sources of natural colour: Tyrian or Imperial Purple from Murex and Purpura shellfish and a variety of reds: a scarlet Kermes Red, Red Lac and Cochineal from the bodies of scale insects, feeding on oak leaves/ fig and acacia leaves/ and prickly pear cactus respectively);

Specific plant dyes: Red: Madder, Brazilwood and Safflower; and Purple: Logwood and Lichens; and

Application techniques: Discharge Dyeing; Block Printing; Ikat Dyeing; and Blue Printing.

Dyeing Techniques:

Safety Guidelines: For use and storage;

Equipment: Drying and storing plant material; Camping stove; Water source; Stainless steel pots, only used for dyeing; Large bowls and buckets; Plastic containers for leftover dyes; Tongs  and log-handled spoons; Measuring jugs; Strainers or colanders; Weighing scales; Rubber gloves and oven mitts; Labels and waterproof markers; and Record book.

Water pH: Testing and adjusting it;

Materials: Animal and vegetable fibres and their preparation for the dye bath;

Mordants:

Natural: Staghorn sumac Leaves; Rhubarb leaves; and Oak galls;

Chemical Compounds: Aluminium, Iron and Copper;

Premordanting Methods:  To fix the dye to the fibres, including instructions for making mordant solutions, using crystals or your own ingredients; Calculating quantities of mordant required; Mordanting animal and plant fibres; Choosing a mordant; and the safe disposal or storage of mordants.

Preparing Plant Parts for Dyeing: Drying; Quantities; Testing; Experimenting; and Extracting colour from bark, flowers, leaves and berries;

Selecting the Best Dyeing Method: Cool Dyeing; Hot Dyeing; and All-in-One Methods;

Dyeing with Specific Plants: Safflower; Indigo; and Woad;

Colour Modifiers: To extend the range of colours from a single  dyebath to create a number of different shades, giving an example of 25 colours from the one dyebath:

Acidic Modifiers: Produce yellower tones;

Alkaline Modifiers: Usually creates pinker tones, but can change colours dramatically eg elderberry pinks and purples become green;

Copper Modifiers: Makes colours greener or browner in tones;

Iron Modifiers: Makes colours darker and more sombre, as well as improving the rastness of dyes;

Wash Fastness; and most importantly, especially if replication of results is desired,

Recording Natural Dyeing Results: Labelling fibre samples in a record book with the name of the fibre; mordant used; dyestuff; methods; and timing. Even information like the previous season and weather and location/ soil/ climate of the plant can be noted.

However, the largest section of the book is devoted to the Dye Plants themselves: all sixty species of them, with their scientific name and species, photographs, description and history of use; their cultivation and harvest; the extraction of their pigments; and dyeing procedures.

There are useful Colour Swatches for each plant entry, showing probable results when certain techniques are used: Firstly, the Dye Colour on Fabrics (black bucket symbol); Adding an Alum Mordant Before Dyeing (white bucket symbol and Using an Iron Modifier After Dyeing (shaded bucket symbol) or Combinations of all three approaches. The number of different shades and colours, which can be achieved from the same plant is amazing! While some plants like Comfrey (grey-greens), Yarrow (beige, soft yellow and soft khaki green) and Hollyhock (maroon and mauve shades) produce only a limited palette, others like Saint John’s Wort (yellow and gold, green and deep red and a range of browns); Walnut (soft browns to gold, kahaki shades and a deep brown) and Apple (a wide range of different browns and khaki golds to pure gold, scarlet and green) yield many different colours.

Some produce different colour ranges according to :

Part of the plant used : In Betula (birch) and Prunus (cherry, plum, peach, almond and apricot) trees, the leaves produce soft yellow to green shades and the bark a range of pinks, while Eucalypts yield rich rusty reds and deep browns from the leaves and a range of greys from the bark;

Method Used: The colours from dyeing with the leaves of woad vary from blues to pink skin tones and greys, while those of Japanese Indigo (Polygonum tinctorium) produce a wide colour range from warm and cool browns to blues and purples, according to the method used.

Some plants are surprising. I would have expected ivy berries and leaves to produce green colours, but the berries only do so with the use of mordants and modifiers, their original unadulterated colour being a soft grey and the leaves yield a range of browns- no green at all!. I also anticipated that pomegranates to produce a red dye, where in reality the fruit and outer skins yield soft ochres and browns, so lacking in brilliance that they are often mixed with turmeric to brighten the colour, however they are rich in tannins, which improves colour fastness and can also be used as a mordant. Rhubarb is a particularly useful plant, as its leaves are a natural mordant and produce greeny-yellow shades, while its roots yield a range of yellows, golds, greens, browns and oranges.

Each page also has an inset box detailing each plant’s range, availability, growing habits, planting and harvesting times, dye stuff (as in flower/ roots/ bark/ leaves and berries) and dyeing instructions.

It is a fascinating and inspirational book, which really makes you want to start experimenting immediately!BlogNatlDyeing3018-02-07 15.25.09

The Craft of Natural Dyeing: Growing Colours From the Plant World by Jenny Dean 1994

My second guide by Jenny Dean is a simpler paperback form covering much the same subject matter: Materials; Equipment; Safety notes; Dyeing a skein of wool or cotton; Record keeping; Mordants; Mordanting techniques; Dyestuffs; Extracting dye colour, Testing for colour fastness; Dye mixing and overdyeing; Colour ranges; and Dye plants to grow.

I found the sections on Mordants and Plant Parts particularly easy to understand in this book and the colour divisions give a quick idea of suitable plants to try. For example,

Yellows and Golds: Weld, Fustic, Safflower, Onions and Nettles;

Greens: Logwood mixed with Weld; Fustic or Onion skins; or overdyeing yellow with indigo; and using an iron modifier on yellow or a copper mordant;

Blues: Indigo and Woad;

Purples, Lavenders and Greys: Cochineal, Logwood, Alkanet and Elderberries;

Pinks and Reds: Cochineal, Safflower and Madder;

Oranges, Rusts and Browns: Annatto, Cutch, Henna, Lichen, Onion skins, Weld, Cochineal, Walnut hulls and leaves, and Madder; or using an iron solution; and

Blacks and Neutrals: Logwood overdyed with indigo or premordanting with tannin (oak galls) and iron.

Overall, an easy introductory guide to natural dyeing, but if I had to make a choice and only have one of her books, it would have to be the more comprehensive Wild Colour.BlogNatlDyeing3018-02-07 15.23.47

Natural Dyeing by Jackie Crook 2007

Another useful guide with a slightly different approach. While the chapter titled: How To Dye covers much of the basic information on dyeing equipment, precautions and techniques, I liked her step-by-step instructions with clear photographs of each stage for cleaning and premordanting, not just wool and cotton, but also silk, as well as the different methods of dyeing (hot water, cool water and vat).

While Jenny based her divisions on plant or colours produced, Jackie has divided the next section based on the plant part used, incorporating 30 different plants and projects, with brief descriptions, requirements and methods, as well as tips, photographs of examples and a colour chart of the effects produced by different mordants (Alum, Chrome, Copper, Iron and Tin). They include:

Roots: Madder, Alkanet, Turmeric and Rhubarb;

Woods and Barks: Brazilwood; Logwood; Cutch; Buckthorn; Sanderswood (Red Sandalwood); Osage Orange; and Querbracho;

Flowers: Gorse; Goldenrod; and French Marigold (Tagetes);

Leaves and Stalks: Henna; Weld; Tea (Thea sinensis); Stinging Nettle and Tansy;

Fruits and Vegetables: Annatto; Elderberry; Walnut; Blackberry; Red Cabbage; Onion; Avocado and Ivy.

There is also a section for Special Colours: Indigo, Cochineal and Lac.

In the back is a simplified chart for quick easy reference of all the material covered, including common and Latin names; their suitability for dyeing silk, wool and cotton; and the form of their dye eg fresh,  dried  or frozen roots/ berries/ tops/ skins, powder; concentrated extract; chips;or teabags, as well as a colour chart showing the colours obtained by using five different mordants (alum, chrome, copper, iron and tin) with each of the 30 dyestuffs.

A useful addition to the library, as it covers slightly different plants (eg Red Cabbage, Avocado, Sanderswood, Osage Orange, Querbracho, Gorse, Tea and Lac) and mordants (chrome and tin).BlogNatlDyeing4018-02-07 15.25.14A Dyer’s Garden: From Plant to Pot: Growing Dyes for Natural Fibres by Rita Buchanan 1995

If you are a keen natural dyer with a large garden, this little pocket guide  is perfect for you! I think that often one of the hardest things about gardening is having the space and the right requirements (sun/ shade; damp/ dry; soil type etc) to fulfill all your needs from aesthetics (garden design) and productivity (fruit, vegetables and herbs) to fragrance, recreation areas, floristry, and of course, dye plants!

Rita is an American dyer with a similar natural dyeing pedigree to Jenny Dean, with over forty years of experience.

The first part of the book is devoted to chapters on :

Plant Choice;

Propagation and Cultivation;

Planning a Dye Garden, including plans for a Daisy-Shaped Bed; a Raised Bed; a Mixed Border; and a Production Garden, as well as a guide to the spacing and yield of dye plants;

Basic Plant Dyeing: Equipment and Materials; Mordanting; Harvesting and storage; Making a dye bath; Dyeing yarn; Additives and afterdips; and Dyeing with indigo and woad; and

Colour and Colours: In this section, Rita explains the myriad reasons for colour variations, including:

Soil type;

Moisture and temperature during the growing season;

Stage of maturity and growth;

Plant part gathered;

Used fresh or stored;

Length of soaking or simmering time for the dyebath;

Mineral content and pH of the water used;

Amount and type of mordant and when and how it was applied to the yarn;

Type of fibre;

Ratio of dye plant to fibre;

Temperature and length of simmering or soaking time for the yarn,

and how this great variation allows for extended experimentation and constant awe, interest and inspiration. It’s certainly a very exciting field and is easy to see why my retired chemist mentor got hooked, line and sinker!

The last and major part of the book presents a portfolio of dye garden plants, suitable for the home garden, including their photo with brief details of Common and Latin names; Climatic Zone; Height; Spacing; and Yield, followed by longer descriptions and notes on related species, cultivation, propagation and dyeing, complete with side panels of colour swatches of the results from using different fibres,  different parts of the plant, different mordants, unusually short or long simmering /soaking times; and different additives or afterdips. Again, a slightly different list of plants, including Garland Chrysanthemum; Sunflower; Zinnias; Purple Basil; Purple Loosestrife; Marjoram, Hops, Bronze Fennel; Peppergrass; and Broom Sedge. In the back is a list of Mail Order Suppliers of Dye Plants and Seeds, though this is possibly out-of-date by now!BlogNatlDyeing4018-02-07 15.24.55With regard to the history of colour, it is also worth reading Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay, which I have already reviewed in: https://candeloblooms.com/2018/01/23/craft-books-colour-design-and-inspiration-part-one/. Next week is my final post on this subject : Dyeing Down Under!

Books on Natural Dyeing Part One: Books on Indigo Dyeing

I have always been fascinated with the use of plant dyes to magically transform the colour of cloth. I love the history of their use, their softer, more muted colours, their complementary nature to each other and the fact that they are organic rather than chemically manufactured.  I also love the fact that you are never quite sure what colour you are going to get, as it varies between plants, soils, growing conditions and the process used. Indigo is particularly magical as the main indigo pigments, Indicant (indico plants) and Iastin B (woad plants) are actually  invisible and insoluble, being extracted by a complicated reduction process, and after the material has been dipped in the dye vat, the cloth changes from a greenish-yellow colour to an indigo blue, as the dye pigment oxidises and precipitates directly onto the fibres.

Consequently, I have bought a number of books on the topic of natural dyeing over the years. I even participated in a course at Dorrigo with a retired chemist, who now devotes her life to this very specific area, this involvement resulting in a most amusing and memorable repercussion. When I told my poor friend over the phone that I had just done a course in ‘natural dyeing’, there was a hushed silence, followed by: ‘But Janey, I didn’t know..!’ Sorry Liz!!!

In my last post on Books on Textile Printing, I finished with a book on Shibori, an ancient resist-dyeing technique used to create pattern on cloth, often using indigo dyes, so I thought I would start this post with two fantastic books on Indigo Dyeing, one theoretical and one highly practical, and both essential additions to the craft library, especially for those interested in natural dyeing. Because this post is so long, I am dividing it into three parts over the next 3 weeks, so today’s post features books on Indigo Dyeing; next week’s post is about General Natural Dyeing books and the third week focuses on books on Natural Dyeing with Australian Plants.

Indigo: The Colour That Changed the World by Catherine Legrand 2012

Indigo dyeing is a universal practice, found from Japan (Ai), Southern China (Landian), Laos and Vietnam (Cham), India (Nila), Africa (Gara) and Central America (Anil). There is even an Indigo Trail from Central Asia to West Africa. Other terms for indigo include: Indigotin; Indicant; and Xiquilite.

There are many different plant varieties that yield blue dye, including the

Indigofera family: Indigo;

Isatis family: Dyer’s and Chinese Woad;

Lonchocarpus family: Yoruba Indigo or Gara and Gambian Indigo;

Wrightia family: Pala Indigo or Dyer’s Oleander; Lan Shu and Mok;

Polygonum tinctorium (now called Persicaria tinctoria): Japanese Indigo, as seen in photo below;

Strobilanthes cusia, the Rum or Assam or Golden Triangle Indigo; and

Others:  Tarum Akar  (Broad-Leafed Indigo); Mohuitli (Sacatinta) and Azul (Panciga or Tinta); and

Urubu-retigma and Yangua (Llangua).

BlogNatlDyeing3014-12-20 10.58.10-2No matter which area of the world the indigo is produced or which species is involved, the basic process involves exactly the same steps:

Cultivation and/or wild harvesting of the plant;

Extraction of the pigment by steeping or crushing, drying or composting the  leaves;

Preparation of the dye bath; and

Dyeing of the cloth or yarn.

It’s quite a complicated chemical process, involving reduction and oxidisation, which is explained really well in this lovely coffee-table book, along with the fascinating history and contemporary production of woad and indigo, amply supported with over 500 beautiful colour illustrations.

It focuses in-depth on the production of indigo in Europe, Japan, China, Laos and Vietnam, India, Africa and Central America. I learnt so much from this book about indigo and indeed, the different cultures and countries themselves! Did you know that:

There was a Blue Triangle (It is in the Haut Lauragais in South-West France and has been the main producer of woad since the early Middle Ages) and a Blue Mutiny (by Indian indigo growers against their British overlords in Bengal, India in 1859)

That the art of indigo extraction is extremely ancient, with woad found in Neolithic burial sites and the ink used to write the Dead Sea Scrolls; and

That denim jeans were originally made from the indigo-dyed Serge de Nimes?

In the back is a list of museums displaying woad and indigo textiles, as well as contemporary artists and studios working with woad and indigo and an extensive bibliography.BlogNatlDyeing4018-02-07 15.23.23For lovers of indigo and textile historians, in fact anyone interested in textiles or ethnic fashions, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s a truly beautiful book!

A Handbook of Indigo Dyeing by Vivien Prideaux 2003

Equally fascinating and essential, this paperback guide is the practical equivalent to the previous book. Starting with a Brief History and Health and Safety Guidelines, it progresses to:

Materials:

Natural Fibres: Cellulose and protein;

Indigo: Plants, Dried Indigo: blocks, cakes, balls or sheets; Powder; and Synthetic Indigo;

Dyeing Chemicals:  Sodium hydroxide, Sodium hydrosulphite, Calcium hydroxide, Washing soda, Ammonia, Zinc and Methanol; and

Other ingredients: Soap, Gelatin, Vinegar, Sugar, Urea and Bran;BlogNatlDyeing2014-11-21 15.50.15Tools and Equipment: Weighing scales; Measuring jugs; Bowls; Timer; Plastic vat; Stainless steel Buckets; Thermometer; pH paper; Measuring spoons and stirring sticks;  Mortar and pestle;  Masking tape; Printing blocks; Clamps and Pegs; Rubber bands; String/rope; Needle and thread; Poles; Paste resists; and Found objects : Screws, corks, shells, rocks, marbles and coins;BlogNatlDyeing2014-11-21 10.32.09-1and Fabric Preparation: Pre-washing fabrics and yarn, before getting down to the nitty-gritty of:

Specialised Shibori Techniques: With detailed and easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions. I know, as I used this book extensively in my indigo workshop, documented in the photos above and below in 2014, practising the techniques marked with an asterisk.

Itajime or Board Clamping, including Kikko Folding *;

Stitched and Gathered, including Mokume (wood grain) by hand or pleating machine*;BlogNatlDyeing2014-11-21 15.51.26

Binding Objects into Fabric, using shells, beads, rice, marbles, screws *, peas, sticks;

or just pinched fabric bound with rubber bands or plastic ties *;

Folded and Stitched, including Ori Nui (Running stitches parallel to fold of fabric) *;

Maki Nui or Chevron Stripes (Over-stitching the fold)*

Karamatsu or Japanese Larch (Concentric half-circles) *;

Bomaki or Pole Wrapping *,

BlogNatlDyeing2514-12-22 16.18.01

though I also tried wrapping and binding a rope *;

Katano (fabric folded and sandwiched between two polyester layers, which act as a resist) ; and

Paste Resist (Including the Nigerian adire-eleko) with flour and water applied with sponges, brushes, potato prints, wood blocks or stencils.

Methods of Dyeing: Reduction is necessary to make the insoluble indigo soluble, so it yields its wonderful colour. It does so by extracting oxygen from the dyebath, filled with a brackish-yellow liquid, streaked with blue and topped with a blueish-bronze flower. After cloth is dipped into the vat and hung out in the air, its colour changes from yellow-green to indigo blue, as oxidation occurs, bonding the colour to the fibres. Reduction is achieved by:

Chemical Fermentation with a Zinc Lime Vat;

Chemical Reduction with a Hydrosulphite Vat; and

Natural Fermentation, using a Bio Vat or a Urine Vat.

This book explains each process so well:

Making the basic bath and stock solution;

Combining the two;

Dyeing the fabric; and

Maintaining the vat, including recipes for dyeing the different natural fibres .BlogNatlDyeing2514-12-20 12.30.01-1

Post-Dyeing Treatments: Steaming; and Overdyeing and Discharging.

The author also describes a number of projects from scarves and jackets to tea cosies and cushions.BlogNatlDyeing25%Image (5)

Next week, I am continuing with some inspiring books on traditional natural dyeing.

Books on Textile Printing

Textile printing is defined as the process of applying colour to fabric in definite patterns and designs, whereas in dyeing, the whole fabric is uniformly coloured with one colour. While related to dyeing, there are many differences, as are very well portrayed in the following website: https://textilestudycenter.com/textile-printing/.

The colour bonds with the fibre, so it resists washing and friction and retains the colour, design and pattern. Some of the printing techniques on textiles include:

Direct Printing, using hand blocks (wood blocks/ engraved plates/ silkscreen) or machine rollers and dyes and mordants to fix colour on the cloth;

Resist Techniques, using wax or other resistant material to prevent uptake of the dye by specific areas of the material (eg: Batik, shibori and tie-dyeing);

Discharge Techniques, using bleaching agents to remove colour from previously dyed fabric; and

Special Techniques like Flock, Dyed or Burnt Out Styles; Blotching; Air Brushing; and Photo Transfers.

The following books are all concerned with printing and painting fabrics and creating surface designs on cloth, rather than dyeing fabric, which I will cover in a separate post.

Hand-Printed Fabrics by KG Herder 1968

This simple little booklet is still worthy of inclusion, despite its age, because of its very simplicity and clear easy instructions, as well as its quaint designs! It mainly covers stencilling on fabric and block printing with potato stamps and linoleum blocks and suggests a variety of projects from checked aprons and tablecloths to placemats, cushion covers, oven gloves, teacosies and Christmas stockings, tea-towels, banners and scarves.BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.18.49Print Pattern and Colour : For Paper and Fabric by Ruth Issett 2007

This comprehensive guide is a must-have for the textile artist, discussing a range of techniques from simple monoprinting and roller printing to screen printing, printing with found objects, using stencils and rubbing and dyeing effects. There are four main sections:

Getting Started, which describes the workspace and equipment required, including their advantages and disadvantages;

Printing on Paper: Monoprinting; Roller Printing; Print Block (Lino, Foamcore, Found Objects, String Blocks, Cut Print Blocks, Heat and Press and Press Print); Paper Types; Colour Combinations; Using Two Plastic Sheets; Creating Texture; and Geometric Patterns;

Printing on Fabric: Choosing, Preparing and Fixing Fabrics; Print Mediums (including a table detailing their description, use, qualities, fixing and suitable fabric type); and Printing Techniques: Mono Printing, Roller Printing and Block Printing; Using Markal Paint Sticks, Masks and Discharge Paste; Screen Printing and Stencilling; and Stitching and Dyeing;  and

Design Ideas and Development: Building a design from simple blocks; Experimenting with lines; Drawing shapes; Print blocks; and Finding, collecting and organizing design ideas.

The book finishes with a list of suppliers and further reading. It’s a terrific book for encouraging experimentation and play with textile design and so satisfying to create original patterns and cloth.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.19.46

Create Your Own Hand-Printed Cloth: Stamp, Screen and Stencil with Everyday Objects by Rayna Gillman 2008

Another inspiring book, that makes you want to race out there and starting textile printing! I feel it has a more informal style to the previous book and it covers slightly different techniques. It covers: Stamping and stencilling with found objects; Random screen printing with stencils made from masking tape, newspaper, freezer paper, found objects, glue resists and soy wax resists ; Gelatin plate printing; Screen printing with thickened dyes, with lots of recipes and step-by-step instructions; Discharge printing with chlorine bleach, bleach gels, thiox and discharge paste; Soy wax batik;  Rubbings with paintstiks and oil sticks, oil pastels and paint; and Thermofax screens.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.19.16

The Creative Guide to Fabric Screen Printing: Creative Designs for Fabric Printing at Home by Pam Stallebrass 1990

This book was one of my first guides to screen printing and it is an excellent basic guide with some lovely designs for paper, handcut film and light-sensitive stencils and painted screens, with patterns in the back. The chapter on basics includes equipment (screen, squeegee, printing table, inks and fabrics) and instructions for making screens, colour mixing, fabric registration, borders and all over designs, multicolour printing, screen printing, cleaning the screen and heat-setting. Projects include braids, quilts,  jackets and skirts, cushions, rugs and curtains. Instructions to both technique and project are clear and precise from making the stencil and screen to textile printing and assembly of the product.

BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.19.58

Design and Practice For Printed Textiles by Andrea McNamara and Patrick Snelling 2004

The bible for serious students of textile design, it contains everything you could possibly need to know about the craft! From the glossary of terms at the start and the introductory chapter on the design process, including examples of textile designers, it progresses to chapters on :

Design Resources:  Concept and story boards; swatchbooks; and design briefs;

Colour: Language of colour; Colourways in textile design; Choice of colour; electronic colour;

Mark Making Materials and Techniques:

A.Materials:

Dry media (pencils, charcoal, conte and wax crayons, pastels and chalks and markers);

Wet media (ink, gouache, poster paint, watercolour, oils and acrylic paints, and bleach);

Tools (brushes, airbrush, atomiser, masks/films and stencils, technical drawing and ruling pens, ruler, eraser, cutting tools and boards, scissors, set squares, compass and protractor, adhesives and tapes); and

Surfaces (butcher’s paper, cartridge paper, specialist papers, cardboard, detail paper, graph paper, typography, hybrid tools).

B.Techniques:

Line Work; Solid Form; Cut or Torn Paper; Textural Effects ; Lino or Block Printing; Resists (wax or masking fluid); Wash-Off Technique; Masks and Stencils; Monoprint; Frottage; Photocopies and Overlays; Collage and Mixed Media; and Decoupage.

Computer-Aided Design: Scanning; Drawing onto screen, Repeating motifs to create a pattern; Electronic colour; Using the printout; and Designing a tile;

Pattern: Repeat systems and layouts; Croquis designs; Language of pattern, design styles; Incorporating motifs or designs into a repeat; Production considerations; Colouring the design; Repeat mirrors; and Troubleshooting;

Finishing and Presenting Designs: Painting up the design; Colour chips; Using masks and resists; Cut paper designs; Colour photocopies and computer printouts; Mounting designs; Portfolios; and Record keeping;

Fabrics: Sources, selection and types; Fabric characteristics and uses; Fabric finishes and treatment; Dye or pigment; the Burn test;  and Fabric care;

Setting up a Print Workshop: Overview of textile printing; Print tables; Screen frames; Mesh and squeegees; Exposure units; Pressure and staple guns; and Cooling troughs and drying cupboards;

Printing Fabrics: Preparation and techniques: Artwork preparation; Screen preparation; Laying out fabric; and Printing;

Alternative Methods: Screen preparation (Paper stencils; wax crayon and hydrographs); Resists (wax/ gutta); Polychromatic printing and Direct handpainting;and  Monoprinting (Lino and wood blocks; direct stencils; airbrush; heat transfer; and fabric crayons;

Recipes: Pigments and dyes; Dyebaths; Reactive dyes; and Fixing dyed fabric; and finally,

Careers in Textile Design: Studio assistant; Studio designer/manager; Stylist; Colourist; Freelance textile Designer; Consultant/Predictor; Textile Artist/ Designer/ Maker; Surface Pattern Designer; Textile Agent; Textile Buyer;  Textile Conservation; Textile Chemist; and Education.

Throughout the book, there are also many exercises and briefs to backup the text, stimulate thought and develop creativity and technical skills. While probably contains far too much information and expertise for my amateur needs, it’s great to have such an expert overall guide! In the back are appendices for troubleshooting with symptoms, possible causes and treatments, as well as a bibliography and a list of suppliers in Australia.

BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.20.30

The Surface Designer’s Handbook: Dyeing, Printing, Painting, and Creating Resists on Fabric by Holly Brackmann 2006

Another excellent and very practical guide to surface design. It has a very logical layout and impressively starts with Studio Practices and Safety Guidelines, which is so important when handling dyes and other chemicals.

In Chapter Two, the different types of dyes (Fiber-Reactive/ Acid/ Vat and Disperse groups) are discussed in great detail, with a table specifying dye groups and their brand names, suitable fibres, their advantages and disadvantages and their fastness to washing and light. Fibres and fabrics are also discussed, including cellulose fibres (cotton, hemp, flax, jute, ramie, sisal, lyocell, viscose rayon and basketry wicker and grass); protein fibres (wool, mohair, alpaca, cashmere, angora, and silk); and synthetic fibres (nylon, polyester), as well as the Burn test and Water-drop test.

Colour is the primary focus in the next short chapter- its mixing and inspiration, while Chapters Four to Eight give an in-depth look at Fiber-Reactive Dyes (especially Procion and Cibacron); Acid Dyes (Kiton, Lanaset, Washfast and Union dyes); Vat Dyes (Indigo, Inkodye, Tie-Dye, and Heliographic printing) and Discharge Dyes (Disperse Immersion, Transfer Printing and variations), including their chemistry, safety precautions, examples of use, techniques, factors to consider, recipes for dyebaths; and fixing dyes.

The remainder of the book looks at specialised techniques:

Discharging: Thiox; Jacquard Discharge Paste; Sodium hydrosulphite; Liquid Bleach; and Monagum;

Screen Printing: Freezer/ Contact Paper/ Plastic Screen and Thermofax Screen techniques;

Monoprinting: Thickened Fiber-Reactive Dyes or Textile Paint; and Disperse Dye Transfer;

Stamping: Commercial and improvised stamps and techniques;

Stencilling: Applicators; Cutting stencils; Interfaceing-and-net stencils; Clear plastic stencils and technique;

Resists: Water-soluble resists; Cold Wax; Tie-Dye and Shibori techniques (Bounding/ Clamping/Pole wrapping/ Stitching); and Resist-Scouring Silk ;

Devoré, which I adore, but which is incredibly toxic!: Devoré Paste and Discharge Dyeing;

Textile Paints: Types, use, lustre, heat setting or fixation and Heliographic or Sun Printing;

Embellishments: Foiling; Embroidery; Beadwork and Collage.

Appendices include a Dye Worksheet for record keeping; Steps for preparing fabric for dyeing/ rinsing, washing and drying fabric; Calculations for stock solutions, dye quantities and colour mixing; Thickeners and printing; Steaming; and Weights, measures and water temperatures, as well as a Glossary of Terms, Bibliography and Resource List.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially when it comes to the use of the different types of dyes, as the marketplace is deluged with such a wide variety that it is hard to get a handle on them all!BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.20.16Handpainting Fabric: Easy Elegant Techniques by Michelle Newman and Margaret Allyson 2003

If none of the books so far appeal, you might prefer this older book, which despite its title really covers much of the same techniques with a few minor differences. Here is a list of the contents:

Materials and Tools: Fabric (Silk, velvet and velveteen); Paints and Dyes (Acrylics and silk dyes); Brushes; and Fabric Stretchers (Padded table; sawhorses; and embroidery hoops and frames).

Design: Sources of Inspiration (Mark Making; Photos; Magazines; Doodles and Drawings; Sketchbooks; Travel, Architecture and Nature); Elements and Principles (In particular: Colour; Repetition; Variety; Rhythm; Balance; Emphasis; Economy; Proportion); and Laying Out a Design.

Freehand Painting: Wet and Dry Fabric; Zones of Patterns; Monochromatic; and Colouring-Book Method.

Dyeing: Immersion, Scrunch and Dip-Dyeing Techniques and Working with Thickened Dyes.

 Discharge Process: Preparation; Bleach and Bleach Thickeners; and Velvet Mudcloth.

Making Multiples: Stamping; Monoprinting; Stencilling; and Silkscreen Printing.

Using Resists: Preparation; Stamping; Using a Tjanting; Colouring Book; and Other resists and Steaming.

Special Effects: Salt; Alcohol; Shortcut Shibori; Hidden Objects; Fortuny Pleating; Faux Airbrush; Basting; Layering; Quilting; and Collage. This section is where this book comes into its own!BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.19.24

Artcloth: Engaging New Visions Curated by Marie-Therese Wisniowski, Fairfield City Museum and Stein Gallery 2009

We were lucky to catch this inaugural international exhibition in 2010, when our visit to Orange coincided with Artcloth at the Orange Regional Gallery, which often holds wonderful textile exhibitions. See: https://org.nsw.gov.au/.

I have included this catalogue as it showcases twenty-one artworks created using many of these textile art techniques, ranging from digital technology, dye sublimation and snow and hydrosulfite discharge to glazes and patinations, deconstructed screen printing, paper and cloth lamination, shibori, batik and natural dyes. Artists came from England, Germany, Lithuania, The Netherlands, United States of America, Japan and Australia, including the aboriginal Ernabella Arts, which I particularly loved. See: http://www.ernabellaarts.com.au/.

In the back are artist biographies, including their exhibitions and residencies, publications and awards. This small booklet gives a wonderful idea of the huge range and potential within this creative field.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-07 15.23.02

The Painted Quilt: Paint and Print Techniques for Colour on Quilts by Linda and Laura Kemshall 2008

While written specifically for quilters, this book is really for all textile artists! It discusses Elements of Design, Sources of Inspiration, Drawing and Collage Skills, Printing Blocks, Oil Pastel and Wash and Stencilling on Paper, and that’s just the first chapter! Health and safety, fabric types and their preparation for dyeing, low water immersion dyeing and making thick dye pastes are the subject of the next chapter, followed by step-by-step instructions for applying colour pre and post quilting.

Colour Before Printing includes: Stencilling on fabric; Rubbings with Fabric Pastels; Block Printing; Basic Screen Printing; and Monoprinting, while techniques for Colour After Printing include: Applying Pastel; Painting; Rollering and Spraying. Removing Colour is often just as exciting as applying it and this section examines the use of bleach and discharge paste, bleach pens and removing or replacing colour after quilting.

Detail can be added with Painted Fusible Web; Gel and other Fabric Pens; Dimensional Paints and Text. Newer techniques include Ink-Jet Printing and Photocopy Transfers. In the back is an indepth examination of some of the author’s works as examples of techniques discussed. It’s a good book for dipping into for inspirational ideas and suggestions rather than an exhaustive guide to textile printing.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.20.06

Not to be outdone, embroiders also have their own handbooks for textile printing! While many embroidery books include chapters on fabric painting, here are two specific examples:

Fabric Painting For Embroidery by Valerie Campbell-Harding 2001

In this book, Valerie looks at a wide variety of Materials: Fabric Paints, Crayons and Pens; Transfer Crayons and Paints, Metallic Powders, Sponges and Brushes, and Techniques: Sticky Paper, Starch, , Gutta, Wax,  Gathered and Stitched, and Thread Wrapping Resists; Thread Painting; Flicking and Dribbling; Rolling; Scrunching and Spraying; Fabric Painting; Stencilling and Screen Printing, including Photographic Screen Printing; Block Printing with cards and card blocks, potatoes, objects, and stamps; Transferring Photocopies, Discharge Dyeing, and Marbling, with photographs of works employing these techniques in the back of the book, as well as a guide to resurrecting disasters, though really nothing is ever a mistake, as it can be added to your fabric stash and if nothing else, serves as a learning tool!!! This book is a veritable cornucopia of ideas and suggestions!BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.18.41From Print to Stitch: Tips and Techniques for Hand-painting and Stitching on Fabric by Janet Edmonds 2010

This book is probably a more comprehensive guide with a more logical ordered approach to block printing, lino and soft-cut lino printing, monoprinting and printing with found objects than the previous book, which is really a grab bag of different ideas. Janet discusses the materials and tools she uses; how she develops a theme and creates a motif and pattern, giving five different examples; colour; and the different types of printing techniques, before specifically focusing on :

Block Printing: Making Foam and Card Blocks; Printing on Paper and Fabric; Overprinting; and Eraser Blocks;

Lino and Soft-Cut Lino Printing: Cutting the Lino; Printing with Lino Blocks; and Creating Texture Using Lino Blocks;

Monoprinting: Creating Texture, Pattern and Line; Mixed Colour; and Using Resists;

Using Found Objects: Potatoes; Washers; Cardboard; Sponge Printing; Collagraphs; and Textured Rollers.

And of course, a large section on Stitching: Hand and Machine Stitching; Embroidery stitches and a Stitch Gallery!

Along the way, she also has instructions and suggestions for specific projects like Origami Boxes; Gathered Bags and Book Covers. I really liked this book, especially its logical progression and its clear simple explanations of each technique.BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.19.39

Finally, no library of books on fabric painting or surface design would be complete without books on batik, a wax resist method used extensively in Indonesia and South-east Asia.  I first studied batik in my final year of school, then revisited it in 2003 with a TAFE workshop on Textile Design (Batik; Stencilling and Tie-Dye and Shibori) with Jenny Evelyn. It was so inspiring and I produced the lovely tablecloth below! Here are some photos showing my rough design, cloth and tools (Drimarene-K dyes and tjantings):BlogPrintingBks3018-02-07 14.45.30BlogPrintingBks5018-02-07 14.44.55BlogPrintingBks2518-02-07 14.59.39 I was so inspired that my husband bought me this beautiful book that Christmas:

Batik for Artists and Quilters by Eloise Piper 2001

While historically, batik is associated with traditional Indonesian designs, this book contains many beautiful contemporary artworks, which really highlight the potential of this medium. It is also a very practical book with comprehensive chapters on :

Equipment, Tools and Materials;

Waxing Methods: Using Brush; Tjanting; Stamps and Incising Tools;

Using Colour :Additive/ Subtractive Systems; Colour Wheel and Properties; Colour Temperature; and Colour Theory;

Using Dyes : Natural; Batik; Aniline; Fiber Reactive; Chemical Dyes with a Dye Chart specifying the brand names, characteristics and suitable fabrics for each; a recipe for Marigold Dye; and in-depth sections on dyeing in the washing machine, direct painting with activated dyes, discharge dyeing and the all-important storage and disposal of dyes.

Removing Wax and Setting Colour:  Ironing Out; Boiling Out; and Steaming.

The final chapters focus on the use of Batik for Surface Design (Art and design considerations; elements and principles of design; and uses for clothing and home décor); Fine Art: Portfolio examples of Landscapes; Still Lifes; Site-Specific Art; People; Photo Realism; and Abstraction; and Quilting.

This is a beautiful and very inspiring book, as well as being providing very practical instruction!BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.20.52

Batik Design by Pepin van Roojen 1994/ 2001

This book however is totally theoretical, exploring the history and different types and patterns of both Classical (originally from the Javan keraton, or royal courts, thus free from foreign influences with a more limited colour palette and highly symbolic motifs) and Pasisir (or Coastal) batik design (which was produced in coastal areas of northern Java and Madura, that were exposed to sea trading and foreign influences eg Indo-European and Chinese influences, so more colourful with motifs from nature), as well as the batik patterns of Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula.BlogPrintingBks4018-02-06 10.20.41 It is a fascinating read with lots of beautiful historical black-and-white and colour photographs, but it is definitely for the batik enthusiast, as well as people interested in the history and traditions of the Malay Peninsula or textile history! Here are an interesting link on Pasisir and Classical Batik: http://www.thelanguageofcloth.com/2015/05/17/batik-pesisir-yesterday-and-today/ .

Shibori For Textile Artists by Janice Gunner 2007

Another very practical guide to the ancient Japanese art of Shibori, the dye-resist technique of binding, clamping, pole wrapping and gathering or stitching cloth, so that the dye cannot reach certain parts, thus creating interesting patterns and designs. This technique has also been used in Africa, India and South America and in her introductory chapter, Janice explores the history of the craft in all these countries with some beautiful photographs of examples.

She examines all the different types of resist techniques, complete with in-depth instructions and suggestions for variations, in the following chapters:

Tied-Resist: Tying cloth around pinched cloth or objects like cowries (Nigeria) or beads, nuts and bolts, corks,  marbles or screws: Rasen, Spiral or Shell; Kumo, Spider Web; Ne-maki; and Honeycomb;

Stitched Resist: Uses stitching on cloth: Mokume, Wood Grain; Karamatsu, Larch; Ori-nui, Running Stitch; Maki-nui, Oversewn Stitch; and Maki-age, Stitched-and-Tied;

Arashi: Wrapping around a pole: Hosoita ichido kairyo, Diagonal Stripes; and Hosoita yoko kairyo, Horizontal Stripes;

 Itajime: Folded and Bound/ Clamp Resist: Naname Goshi, Lattice; and

Tesuji: Pleated and Bound: Tesuji; and Yanagi, Willow,

They are followed by a comprehensive chapter on Dyeing techniques: Immersion; Space and Indigo Dyeing with recipes and comprehensive instructions. The book finishes with instructions for a Shibori Sampler Wallhanging to showcase all the techniques, as well as a list of suppliers of fabrics; dyes; threads; and antique and Japanese textiles.

Having practised many of these techniques at a wonderful Indigo workshop with my friend, Heather, I can highly recommend this book!BlogPrintingBks3018-02-06 10.20.58

In my next craft book post, we enter the wonderful related world of textile dyeing, the magical and exciting art of transforming the colour of cloth!

Hegarty’s Bay Walk

While the days are still warm, it is worth doing the walk between Bittangabee Bay and Hegarty’s Bay, an area of the Light-to-Light Walk, inaccessible by car. The Light-To-Light Walk is in the southern part of Ben Boyd National Park, which I have previously featured in: https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/16/ben-boyd-national-park-part-1/ and https://candeloblooms.com/2016/08/23/ben-boyd-national-park-part-2-photo-essay/. The walk stretches 30 Km from Boyds’ Tower in the north to Green Cape Lighthouse in the south. Here is a photo of the interpretive board provided by National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.37.04While we would love to do the walk in its entirety one day, at least most of the key areas (Boyd’s Tower, Leatherjacket Bay, Saltwater Bay, Bittangabee Bay and Green Cape) can be visited by car on day trips, except for Hegarty’s Bay, which can only be accessed on foot, either from Saltwater Bay in the north or Bittangabee Bay (photos below) in the south!BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.39.43While we had heard about its great scenic beauty, its inaccessibility was an added lure, so in July 2017, we finally did the 9 Km return walk between Bittangabee Bay and  Hegarty’s Bay and it was everything we expected and more! The walk takes 3.5 hours return, though we actually took a bit longer as we kept stopping for photographs!BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.41.09BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.41.33We started from the Bittangabee Bay Picnic Area and walked down the hill to the beautiful Bittangabee Bay Beach with views of the green green water of the sheltered bay and the Imlay’s old storehouse to the south.BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.41.12BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.34.10 It’s a lovely little sandy beach, backed by a small creek and lagoon, with rocky platforms either end.BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.39.57BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.37.33BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.20.20BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.20.31 We love just sitting on the rocks to the north of the beach!BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.44.01BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.44.10 We rockhopped north to another small cove.BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.46.46BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.45.58BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.53.17BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.53.28BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.54.32 The beach was teaming with hordes of soldier crabs, marching down to the water’s edge or diving into their burrows, before we too dived into the bush to rejoin the track north to Hegarty’s Bay.BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.54.02BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.54.07BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.56.02BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.57.23BlogHegartys2017-07-17 12.59.50After crossing the lovely little Bittangabee Creek,BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.09.42BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.10.03BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.00.08 we headed uphill through a thick forest of banksias, sheoaks, pittosporum, melaleucas and beautiful gums…BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.20.22BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.18.52BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.33.18BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.23.52BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.15.58BlogHegartys2017-07-17 16.53.45BlogHegartys2017-07-17 16.58.29 to stunning heathland…

with intermittent views of the ocean,BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.27.18BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.36.56BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.37.02BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.37.18BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.42.19 then descended to Black Cliffs, an amazing large rocky platform…BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.33.42BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.03.48BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.57.50 with spectacular views in all directions. Here is Green Cape Lighthouse to the south…BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.40.34 We loved exploring the rockpools, teaming with life: barnacles, sea snails, mussels, chitons, limpets, crabs, starfish, cunjevoi and a myriad of seaweeds and kelp.BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.00.38BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.56.53BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.52.51BlogHegartys2017-07-17 13.55.41The stunning beauty of the bay was amplified by dramatic storm clouds and golden light.BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.10.31BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.07.28We followed the Light-To-Light track markers north over the rock shelf,BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.05.36BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.07.18BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.14.05BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.16.17 then back into the heath and grassland,BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.21.21BlogHegartys2017-07-17 16.05.12 with more colourful flora,

and tantalising views of Hegarty’s Bay…BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.35.40BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.37.23BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.36.50before dropping down to a creek and Hegarty’s Bay Camping Area with its quirky structures in a forest clearing. Unfortunately, the camera lens smudged with the rain, but hopefully, these photos will give you some idea.BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.47.19BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.48.17 We watched Glossy Black Cockatoos ripping bark off the sheoaks in their search for grubs.BlogHegartys2017-07-17 14.51.05BlogHegartys2017-07-17 15.51.06BlogHegartys2017-07-17 15.51.11 Just beyond is Hegarty’s Bay …BlogHegartys2017-07-17 15.47.16BlogHegartys2017-07-17 15.23.29BlogHegartys2017-07-17 15.49.49BlogHegartys2017-07-17 15.26.25with its stunning red cliffs and fascinating geology,BlogHegartys2017-07-17 15.30.55BlogHegartys2017-07-17 15.27.48BlogHegartys2017-07-17 15.29.43 including a beautiful deep waterhole!BlogHegartys2017-07-17 15.25.26BlogHegartys2017-07-17 15.32.48Unfortunately, it wasn’t really swimming weather, and we did in fact have to shelter under rocky overhangs to eat our sandwiches during heavy rain, but once it had stopped, we retraced our steps back south. That’s a White-Bellied Sea Eagle flying down low across the bottom photo!BlogHegartys2017-07-17 16.13.17BlogHegartys2017-07-17 16.17.16BlogHegartys2017-07-17 16.17.23BlogHegartys2017-07-17 16.22.05BlogHegartys2017-07-17 16.28.58BlogHegartys2017-07-17 16.26.14 As we neared Bittangabee Bay, we took the alternate route back past the historic foundations of Imlay House. Here are photos and the plan from the NPWS board:BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.09.56BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.10.42BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.09.38The Imlay brothers, George (1794-1846), Peter (1797-1881) and Alexander (1800-1847), were the first European settlers in Twofold Bay, establishing the first permanent whaling station at Eden in 1834. While they were the major whalers for the next nine years, competition from other whalers  forced them to open a second whaling station at East Boyd, with crews further south round Bittangabee Bay, where they had substantial stock runs. In 1844, they laid foundations for a stone house right beside the small creek behind Bittangabee Beach, to be set amongst bark huts, fruit trees and gardens, but sadly, George died in 1846 and Alexander in 1847, with Peter migrating to New Zealand in 1851, and the house was never completed.BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.04.39BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.04.34 We also watched a very busy, quiet lyrebird foraging for grubs with its strong powerful legs, with a very clever and opportune White-Browed Scrubwren in its wake, enjoying the proceeds. We actually saw six lyrebirds that day, so it is a good spot to see them. I suspect they are fairly used to campers in the area!BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.15.38BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.19.45BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.17.10 We also saw these equally quiet Eastern Grey kangaroos!BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.22.33BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.23.34It was such a beautiful walk and we would highly recommend it! Some final photos from Bittangabee Bay Beach…!BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.34.38BlogHegartys2017-07-17 17.35.41For a map and more detailed information on the walk, it is worth looking at: http://www.wildwalks.com/wildwalks_custom/walk_pdfs/saved/Saltwater%20Creek%20to%20Bittangabee%20Bay%20(nsw-benbobnp-sctbb).pdf.

Next week, I am returning to my craft library, with posts on books on Textile Printing and Natural Dyeing.

 

Feature Plants for March: Our Tea Garden

When you own animals, it’s inevitable that they generally pass away before you do, so it’s important for every garden to have a special cemetery corner. When we first moved to Candelo in 2015, we brought our very old and much loved dog, Scamp, with us to eke out his final days. In fact, my husband  had to make a special trip back to Geelong to pick up Scamp and our rose plants after the initial big move!Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-02-03 15.32.17Scampie loved the garden , even though he had limited mobility , and played a big part in its early development, often sitting right on top of a freshly dug hole for a new plant or enjoying the warmth of a pile of fallen Autumn leaves.Blog Early Autumn20%Reszd2015-03-22 11.26.41When he finally died six months later at the ripe old age of almost 16, we buried him in the corner of the flat with a beautiful funeral service, laying him to rest on his favourite old pink blanket, covered with freshly picked blooms from the garden.Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-07 15.18.44 The flat lies between the old shed (on the right of the first photo below) and the rainforest bank (left edge of the first two photos below), in front of the entrance steps, where he can keep an eye on all our visitors! The bottom photo shows the view of the flat from the house.BlogTeaGarden2518-02-07 11.48.15BlogTeaGarden2518-02-07 11.48.02OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Since then, Scampie has been joined by a succession of my daughter Caroline’s budgies, all of these pets playing a special part in her growing up years and much loved by the whole family.BlogTeaGarden2517-12-08 08.55.44As you might know, we all love our tea, especially Caroline, so we thought this dedicated area was perfect for a tea garden, somewhere where we could sit and contemplate, chat to our animal friends and remember the good time we shared, so we planted a Camellia sinensis, the original tea plant (second photo below), along with a seat of Chamomile, with an adjoining carpet of Peppermint and Moroccan Spearmint (see photo above), which can run to their heart’s delight in this area, providing us with many future cups of delicious herbal tea. One small pot of peppermint (first photo below) is far too restrictive for my needs!!!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.48.00When Scampie died, we originally marked his grave site with a native Frangipani tree, one of our favourite rainforest trees back at Dorrigo, where Scamp spent many happy hours. It has beautiful scented golden blooms, fading to white, dark green glossy leaves and interesting purse-shaped seedpods.BlogTeaGarden50%nov 2010 452BlogTeaGarden50%nov 2010 453 Having seen huge specimens down in Geelong, we thought it might be able to grow here, but unfortunately, it was cut right back by the frost in the Winter of 2016. We moved it to a pot to recover and planted a new specimen, both plants growing vigorously over the following year, but again, both were hit badly last Winter, unfortunately with fatal results this time! So, I’ve given up on being able to grow native frangipanis, but then had to decide on another tree for the same spot. Below is a photo of Winter Sun daffodils, which we had planted beneath the Native Frangipani – very much in keeping with the gold colour scheme!blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-11-11-42-44While the thought of a Lemon-Scented Tea Tree was an attractive option, because space is at such a premium in our small garden, especially these days, it is extra important to get double the value out of any future plantings! So we decided on a golden peach, which not only satisfies aesthetic requirements, but also culinary ones! A friend gave us a whole box of homegrown peaches last year, after which we decided we had to have our own tree! While we love eating peaches, you can also make a delicious herbal tea with cinnamon and orange zest.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-02-11-58-33The colour scheme of this area is very much happy golds and whites, uplifting the spirits and  complementing the mature hill banksia behind in its bed of blue and white agapanthus.blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-01-17-14-52-51BlogAprilGarden20%Reszd2016-04-07 13.19.34BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.14.18 Above the bank at ninety degrees to the banksia, a red hedge of two grevilleas, a correa and a Red Riding Hood azalea, separates the Tea Garden from the rainforest garden.BlogJulyGarden20%Reszd2016-07-10 11.51.07BlogWinterGardenReszd20%IMG_0192blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-21-10-33-13blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-09-10-09-41Other plants near the Tea Garden on the flat include: a Kerria japonica  seedling, struck from a cutting in my sister’s garden, which sports bright golden flowers in early Spring. See: https://plantsam.com/kerria-japonica-pleniflora/, as our shrub hasn’t flowered yet!;BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-23 20.08.45BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.15.23a Golden Hornet crab apple (photos above), whose crabs turn a deep gold on maturation, underplanted with Golden Dawn daffodils;BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-14 18.37.24a naturalised bank of Grandma’s highly scented freesias;blogoctgarden20reszdimg_0250an entrance arch (first photo) covered in golden Noisette roses: Alister Stella Grey (second photo) and Rêve d’Or (third photo), which leads through past the cumquat trees (fourth photo) and a Lemonade Tree to the main pergola;BlogTeaGarden2518-01-18 10.53.28bloghxroses20reszd2016-11-16-09-46-38OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.12.41and the back wall of the old shed with its wall of Albertine roses, trained on a frame, with their skirt hems covered in brightly coloured dahlias.BlogTeaGarden2517-12-02 15.06.54OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogTeaGarden3017-12-04 10.50.02BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-22 11.00.12BlogTeaGarden3017-11-13 06.43.12While celebrating the animal friends in our lives, the Tea Garden is also a good spot to honour family members, who have also passed on, so last year, we planted a beautiful golden rambler called Maigold below the hill banksia for my dad, who passed away at the age of 91 in January 2017.BlogSpringGardenReszd2517-11-22 11.10.53 Bred by Kordes in 1953, this exceptionally healthy and vigorous rose, with glossy dark green foliage, is thriving and has already produced a number of golden single blooms.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt has been a wonderful season and all the plants in the Tea Garden are growing well, as can be seen in the photos below of chamomile and Moroccan spearmint. From small beginnings….blogsummer-gardenreszd20%2017-02-04-13-21-25 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogTeaGarden2518-03-13 16.45.09BlogTeaGarden2518-03-13 16.45.03After an initial slow start with six well-spaced plants, the chamomile has gone wild and is now competing well with the original couch grass.BlogTeaGarden2517-12-02 15.07.16BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-02 15.07.20 We have been harvesting its bloom all Summer, often picking 450 flowerheads at a time to dry for chamomile tea.BlogTeaGarden2517-12-08 08.55.54BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.46.22 I have just chopped back all the flowering stems and cleaned up the bed for Autumn.BlogTeaGarden2518-03-13 17.06.45While I use chamomile tea for relaxation and getting to sleep, it has numerous health benefits, as documented in: https://draxe.com/chamomile-benefits/. We have also cut and dried mint leaves, BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-26 12.06.26but are resisting the temptation to harvest the Camellia sinensis until it is much bigger! Below is a photo of my daughter Caroline next to a huge tea plant, taken in 2008 at the Nerada Tea Plantation on the Atherton Tableland. I probably won’t wait this long though!BlogCamellias25%ReszdIMG_8763

Here is a link to a site detailing the health benefits of Peppermint and Spearmint: https://www.teamindbody.com/blogs/healthy-tea-info/9928062-health-benefits-of-mint-8-qualities-to-better-your-health.

And a closeup photo of the fresh foliage of Camellia sinensis, which is dried to make tea.BlogCamellias25%ReszdIMG_8768I own a lovely book called Healthy Teas: Green, Black, Herbal and Fruit by Tammy Safi 2001, which not only discusses the history, types, methods of brewing and health benefits of tea , but also contains a number of recipes for delicious herbal tonics for energy, stress, cleansing, immunity and springtime.BlogTeaGarden30%Image (2) Another good book is Herbal Tea Remedies: Tisanes, Cordials and Tonics for Health and Healing by Jessica Houdret 2001, which specifically focuses on herbal teas with chapters on their cultivation; harvesting, drying and storage and brewing, including tea recipes for digestion; coughs and colds; zest and energy; calm and sleep; headaches, anxiety and depression; tonic teas; and fruit and flower drinks.BlogTeaGarden30%Image (3)In the back is a compendium of herbs suitable for a tea garden and I grow many of them in other parts of the garden like angelica, bergamot, black currant, borage, calendula, dandelion, elderflower, feverfew, honeysuckle, lavender, lemon verbena, marshmallow, mulberry, mullein, nasturtium, roses, rosemary, sage, strawberry, thyme, valerian and yarrow. The first group of photos below shows angelica, feverfew, calendula, borage and bergamot; while the second grouping includes rosehips, valerian and thyme, dandelion, honeysuckle and strawberry.BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-29 10.31.45blogsummer-gardenreszd20img_0811BlogTeaGarden2517-12-07 16.41.19BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-28 12.02.46blogdecgarden20reszd2016-12-16-18-10-36 I am quite tempted to plant a hibiscus shrub, lemon balm and some more mints,  perhaps Eau-de-Cologne Mint,  Pennyroyal, Apple Mint and Chocolate Mint, down in the Tea Garden.blogspeciesrosesreszd50image-192BlogSummersplendrs20%Reszd2015-12-18 19.11.24BlogTeaGarden2017-09-22 10.39.13blognovgarden20reszd2016-11-17-08-48-54blogoctgarden20reszd2016-10-08-11-03-15 If you would like to know more about mint, a good little volume is Book of Mint by Jackie French 1993. It describes the different types of mint, their cultivation and harvest/ storage, and their uses in medicine, cosmetics, teas, sauces, sorbets and after dinner mints, complete with recipes!BlogTeaGarden30%Image (4)

Next month, we will be exploring the wonderful world of Salvias, but first, a post about Hegarty’s Bay, followed by a swag of books on Textile Printing and Natural Dyeing in my series on Craft Books!

Oldhouseintheshires