This Weld plant popped up nearby so I put the bricks around it – my universal marker for this-is-not-really-a-weed-dont-pull-or-stomp-on. With any luck this one will have the tenacity to survive the current drought conditions.
Weld plants from June to July. Some Woad in the background. These seem to be surviving the drought weather under tree shade. Last year’s Weld and Woad and actually most of my herb garden didn’t survive the heat wave so this year I’m more focused and picking areas of the yard where they might survive.
For the record, mine are growing these in southern California, USA. Definitely not native to the area. The two pictured have started blooming and not (not in the picture) haven’t taken off yet. But even two plants can be good for dyeing since Weld is one of those wonderful plants where everything from areal parts – from the ground up is used.
I’ve turned out to be a rather rotten blogger. I have this idea of only writing where there is something appropriate and relevant and then somehow not getting back to it for a few months.
The plants last seen around September 14 have mostly survived. Woad in porch planters were eaten by something. The Woad in the yard took off though one Weld didn’t survive. Additionally I have some more seeds in flats that will hopefully take off.
[Three Weld plants in front, the Woad nearest the tree and another Weld behind.]
[One of the Weld plants.]
Due to drought conditions – I’m in southern California – there are watering restrictions. On my street odd numbered addresses have Mon, Wed, Fri and Sunday, before 9am and later in the evening for watering. For awhile now I’ve been using dish (washing) water on the dye plants and they seem to be doing ok along some shade from the tree.
My other yellow dye staple is Oxalis, aka the Weed-that-does-not-die. That one is of course did well for it’s seasonal appearance and keep a lot of bees happy while providing me with a good supply of yellow/orange dye.
Earlier this year I stared some Woad in a planter to see how it would do. So far it has survived the crazy weather and nibbling by local urban wildlife. Looks like it would be possible to grow this one in planters if no yard is available.
This area is the Weld and one Woad plant behind. And behind that is the dead lawn. Current drought conditions are my excuse for letting the lawn go dormant. (Nice word for letting it dry out.) I wouldn’t have a lawn at all but I’ve been outvoted. Since I can’t get rid of it I’m expanding the dye plants and medicinal herbs out over it a section at a time.
I haven’t written for quite awhile. I seem to be wandering into various non-dye projects. As far as the dye plants go there is the ongoing collecting and drying my favorite invasive weed/dye-plant/Bee-snack – ie. Oxalis.
The woad and weld in the ground is surviving what passes for winter out here but the woad in-planter (on the porch) was nibbled down to the roots and what wasn’t eaten rolled over and died.
[woad from last year]
[new weld plants]
It’s probably not fair to blame the woad snacking on the Possums. We have a surprising variety of wild life that have adapted to city living: Racoons, Owls and Coyotes along with the Possums. Most of these aren’t seen too often unless you work really early or night shifts.
I had this project idea to see how the Woad would do in a planter vs yard. It started out well enough then one night something made its way to the porch ate most of the Woad in a pot – but not the yard. I guess the next few test plants will be wrapped in hardware cloth.
Woad plants in starter pot and the yard.
And the Weld. These are from last years Weld plants. Just starting to come up.
Weld seedlings just coming up.
Weld a few weeks later.
Weld under hardware cloth to discourage local beasties from rolling in it.
Weld section of the front yard, backed by Rosemary, White Sage and Valerian.
Jack, through the back screen door. The cats are always looking for the door to spring.
Garden around late January, early February.
Still looks a bit bare. Shortly after this picture was taken the Weld took off.
Weld I haven’t written much about using Weld. From: A Dyer’s Manual / Jill Goodwin (ISBN 0-7207-1327-7) “The whole plant above ground may be chopped and simmered fresh, or carefully dried for use during the winter. There is little difference in the depth of yellow color from fresh or dried plants but the range of greens is greater from freshly cut leaves and stems.” (p.63)
[Weld plants, pictures taken only a couple of weeks apart. ] Goodwin also mentions that the the plants grow about 3ft before flowering.