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starting my perennial dye garden

Posted on Nov 20, 2010 by in gardening, natural dyes | 2 comments

My current garden is quite small, so I have put my name on the waiting list for a plot at the local community garden. My vision is to create a beautiful dye garden there, to share seeds and cuttings with other dyers, and to host dyeing workshops there with a variety of teachers.

Even though I don’t yet have a plot, I figured I could get started. Particularly with plants such as Madder (Rubia tinctorum), whose roots take several years to develop to the point where they can be used for dyeing.

This week my order of three Madder plants arrived from Horizon Herbs. The plants themselves are tiny, but their beautiful red roots filled the small pots that they were shipped in. Today I lovingly transplanted them into larger pots, and set them out to enjoy the rain.

Madder root (Rubia tinctorum) has been used as a source of red dye for centuries

Two websites with good information about dyeing with madder root:


  1. three little plants, so loved. exquisite.

    • Yes, and now the lovely red roots are beginning to send up shoots as the garden slowly begins to awaken!