Introducing The Dye Garden 2014

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Each year Bungay Community Library Garden has a different theme for the central bed and revolves a series of events around its showcase plants.

In 2010 when Sustainable Bungay first created the garden we grew a host of nectar and pollen flowers for Butterflies and Bees (with Bungay Community Bees). The following year Mark ‘in Flowers’ Watson curated a year long programme of walks, talks and workshops around Medicine Plants and gave ‘plant surgeries’ during the summer underneath the shade of a giant burdock.

Last year Lesley Hartley planted a wonderful array of coloured veg (purple peas, crimson broadbeans) and edible flowers for the 2013 theme of The Edible Garden. Pumpkins, potatoes and apples were served up at Happy Mondays, window boxes and hot beds were constructed and all manner of seeds, plants and produce (and garden knowledge) swapped at our bi-annual Give and Grow days.

This year the theme is The Dye Garden and the bed is being planted up with all kinds of wild and mostly native dye and fibre plants, that will provide the creative inspiration for this year’s programme of events starting on 22 March alongside our next Give and Take Day.

Image2013-650exhibit-color-explosion5Here I am in the garden takeover period, pointing to our signature plant, woad (blue), transplanted from our fellow Transition Library garden in Halesworth. Along with Mark and Lesley and chief dye plant advisors, Rose Titchiner and Jenni Jepson, we have taken down the last of the frost-bitten beans and nasturtiums and planted up a robust rainbow gang of dyer’s greenweed, yarrow, St John’s wort, indigo and madder. The spikey leaved plant  in the pic is artichoke (cardoon, and the neighouring purple beetroot, are both vegetable dyes).

Watch this space for some colourful action this year! Charlotte Du Cann

Images: Bungay Community Garden; naturally dyed wool at the Guildhall Museum, Lavenham; chemical dyed fabric from exhbition Colour Revolution: Style Meets Science in the 1960s at the Lowell Musuem, USA

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