Traditionally, before the onset of chemical dyes, people used plant material to color fabrics and yarns. This garden contains some of the more commonly used plants, such as alkanet, weld, woad, agrimony, and dyers’ chamomile. Plants with very dark flowers, such as deep blue irises and dyers’ cosmos are cultivated here. Common roadside plants such as pokeberries, stinging nettle, and walnuts were also used. Gypsies often harvested the elusive gypsywort and sold it in towns and villages. It was the only plant to produce a true, durable black, so it was in high demand for dyeing mourning clothes. You’ll find fibre flax and cotton plants which were grown to make cloth. Look for yomogi, which was used to dye silk in Japan, and dyer’s broom. Can you imagine cooking kettles of mashed herb leaves over a fire, and dipping skeins of wool yarn to dye them yellow, blue, green, red, or purple?