Dirt, Plants, Water, Sunshine … and the People Who Love Them



We thought arriving at 8 am was early, but there they were:  flats and flats and flats of seedlings, waiting for us outside the garden fence. Our partners from the Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms had obviously been up with the sun to deliver them from the greenhouse. The mood was one of a particularly good birthday party — friends, fun, and presents!  There was a definite anticipatory buzz, and one new dye gardener admitted to not sleeping the night before for pure excitement.  Planting day at last!

This season’s roster includes:
Japanese indigo, Polygonum tinctorium
Guatemalan indigo, Indigo suffruticosa
Dyer’s chamomile, Anthemis tinctoria
African marigold, Tagetes erecta
French marigold, Tagetes patula
Mexican marigold, Tagetes lucida
Madder, Rubia tinctorum
Black hollyhock, Alcea rosea
Black eyed Susan, Rudbeckia hirta
Dyer’s broom, Genista tinctoria
Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
Dyer’s coreopsis, Coreopsis tinctoria
Red dyer’s coreopsis, Coreopsis tinctoria
Cosmic red cosmos, Cosmos sulphureus
Cosmic orange cosmos, Cosmos sulphureus
Cosmic yellow cosmos, Cosmos sulphureus
Weld or, as our new sign calls it, Dyer’s rocket, Reseda luteola

After a spell of sunshine and heat resulted in droopy plants and equally droopy people, a good watering perked things right up. The forecast called for rain and, sure enough, late morning brought wind, clouds, and a drop in temperature. The plant babies responded well to the increased humidity and looked solid and strong by the time we broke for lunch and a discussion about The Irrigation System and how to install it. Cut it? Wrap it around? Knot it? Really? Well, yes, as it turns out, really.

Planting day 2017 is over, and what a good time we had with each other and our garden. Lots to look forward to this summer! We’ll be tending the plants, harvesting, and dyeing on Thursdays from June to September. If you’re in the neighborhood, stop in and say hello.


Author: Janice Ford Memorial Dye Garden

The Janice Ford Memorial Dye Garden is a joint project of the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Rocky Mountain Weavers Guild, established by a donation from the family of Janice Ford. Janice was an enthusiastic and energetic dyer, weaver, and seamstress who passed away too young in 2011. The garden has been flourishing since 2014, enriching and coloring the lives of visitors, artists in many media, and especially those whose privilege it is to tend it. The garden is located at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms. http://www.botanicgardens.org/chatfield-farms/janice-ford-memorial-dye-garden From June to September, we are there most Thursdays, 9-12, to weed, harvest and dye. Visitors are welcome to stop by to see what we're up to!. Admission is free to Denver Botanic Garden members, with a $5.00 fee/car for non-members.

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