Archive for the 'Weld' Category



Woad and Weld: 2010 to 2011

When I first tried growing my own dye plants identification was difficult. As I’ve written about previously I had my Weld confused for Woad until some kind person pointed this out and we ended up swapping seeds.

A google image search  on Woad or Weld plants usually gets flowering – i.e adult – plants. Images of young Woad or Weld plants seemed rare so I’m trying to document my plants as I grow them.


Woad and Weld. (Sorry, I now realize that I should have photographed these with a ruler or something to indicate size.) Till you see them over a few plantings they look pretty much  alike.


The Woad plant about a month later.


The Woad about four months later. These are still youngish plants but now easier to tell apart.


And here is the Weld, shot at the same time.  At this point they finally look different.

If it helps any here are closer shots of the leaves. Weld first and then Woad.

Detail, looking down into the Weld plant.


Woad leaves I had cut for processing.

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Summer Solstice, Woad (hopefully) and Weld

Happy Summer Solstice and all that.  On the garden front the Fennel has begun blooming and I have Woad on the way or at least like to think that I do. Last year I misidentified Weld for Woad. Hopefully I’m growing what I think I’m growing this time around. The Weld did however turn out – a good clear yellow dye – and I swapped Weld for Woad seeds with another dyer I met online.

This should be a Woad plant from last years seed swap.

New Woad and Weld covered with screen to keep the local beasties out.

Weld on the way.


This is the rest of the herb garden – some Calendula, Rosemary, Yarrow poking up in the back, Lavender and Sage. Also tucked in there are Valerian, Vervain and Thyme.


And the garden supervisor.

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Vernal Equinox, Woad and Weld Started, Small Tapestries and my Flaming AMC


We passed the Vernal Equinox a week or two ago, which I think means beginning of Spring. Days are getting longer with a bit more light later into the evening. Some of the Weld and Woad that weren’t washed out of the flats in the last rain storm are nearly ready to move into the garden.


This one is neither Woad nor Weld, but one of the California Poppies blooming all around my street.

On the subject of weaving, one piece is off the loom and another one started

Lastly, an automotive postscript: My neighbors have taken to calling my AMC (aka: the-brain-that-wouldn’t-die) the “flaming amc”…

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More Adventures with Woad and Weld or where have all the Dicots gone

gone to Eudicots every one… 

Since I spend a lot of my so-called spare time working with or around plants – dye plants especially –  I decided it was time to understand how they work. This fall I signed up for “Botany for Gardeners” at my local university extension program. (Brian Capon’s Botany for Gardeners –  a very good read.) 

Possible conversation starter: apparently with all the DNA sequencing there has been a shakeup up in botanical classification. The dicots (two-leaf seedling thing vs the one-leaf monocot thing) some of us grew up with (and had a couple of semesters ago) are now eudicots (new two-leaf seedling thing). Who knew.

My standard dye plants are often categorized as “weeds”  so I end up babying along other people’s unwanted garden invaders, Wood Sorrel/Oxalis, Fennel, etc. Recently I’ve been nursing along (what better be) the next batch Woad and Weld.

Weld seedlings:

 

Woad seedlings:

 

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More about the Woad that is really Weld

Since I now know what I’m actually growing I’ve been reading up on Dyer’s Weld (Reseda luteola) – Ida Grae, etc. It can be used fresh or dried  and I’ll probably harvest the tops as they bloom and dry them.

I put a yard stick in the picture for size context. Picture below is a 2nd year plant. I’d say it falls between my elbow and shoulder but since I’m behind the camera that doesn’t give anyone an idea of the height.

Summer and Fennel

In some areas Fennel is considered a noxious and/or invasive weed. But for me, Fennel has always been a nice, well-behaved multi-use plant. It even smells good in the dye pot. (And I can identify it correctly : see post about the Woad that turned out to be Weld.)

Fennel has also become one of of my seasonal markers. Wood Sorrel runs through half of the year and as it dies off the Fennel starts up. And visa versa. So I am always stocked with yellow dye.

Quick note: Fennel by my experience works only well with protein fiber (i.e. wool), I’ve never successfully dyed plant fiber such as cotton. Wood Sorrel on the other hand dyes anything I’ve tried. The only exception has been corn fiber.

The Woad that is actually (Dyers) Weld

This is embarrassing. It’s what happens when you grow a plant that you have never actually observed from seed to dye pot. The Woad I thought I was growing is really Dyer’s Weld. Yellow not blue. More yellow. A really good, clear Lemon yellow but still more yellow.

Dyer's Weld

Before it began to bloom it could have been either.

Weld (not Woad) with Bee

However, as it blossomed it became obvious that the plant I had was not what I thought it was.  Checked every image I could find including the Druid Plant Oracle and I definitely was not growing Woad.

Weld

So I’ve got Weld, Dyer’s Weld. Nice looking plant. The bees seem to like it. Works on wool (protine fibers – so not cotton).