How Does My Garden Grow?

It has been really dry here lately, that is until last night.  I almost watered the garden, but the maple leaves were turning upside down, which is a sure sign of rain, and about 20 minutes after checking everything, we received a good soaking.  Before leaving for work this morning, I stopped and checked on how the garden was doing.


The sunflowers are anywhere from 2 to 3.5 feet tall right now.  Remember, I planted them late, but they seem to know where we are in the season, so, even if they aren’t going to be tall, they are going to bloom.


These are a dwarf variety, anyway, but they are really dwarf.  So much so, I may have to bring Lizzie out for a photo shoot once they are blooming well.


Even the normal varieties are getting ready to bloom.  This one should be 8-10 feet tall, but it’s about 3.5 feet.  That’s okay.  Since I want the flowers for dyeing, the bloom is far more important to me than the height of the plant.


The thing that thrills me the most, though, is the Coreopsis bed – see those two flowers?  There are buds all over these plants, so I will need to start going out there on a nightly basis and harvesting the flowers.  I’ll put them in a freezer bag and freeze them until I have enough to dye with – or until the season is over, depending on my spare time for dyeing.

I need to get into the garden this weekend and finish weeding two beds that haven’t been touched since the beginning.  I have the feeling my marigolds are going to be sparse, but that just means I’ll buy the plants next spring rather than planting seeds.  The same will go with my mint plants, purple coneflower, and other dye plants.

I plan to double the size of this bed this autumn with the help of a landscaping company that Scott and I know well.  If I can hire them for about 6-8 hours, we can get it all ready for next spring.  I think I will take parts of this garden area and plant some dye plants that need more than one season to grow to produce dye – like madder.  It’s needs a minimum of 3 years, but the closer to 7 years you get, the more dye the roots produce.  I think I will plant one of the 8 foot sections in the current with madder, then plant another one the year after and so on until I have the whole plot planted.  That will give me six years of maturity that I can rotate out as I use them.  Luckily, madder root dries very well for future use.

I am hoping the coreopsis will reseed itself this year, which means I will have to leave several flowers to mature and produce seed.  As for the sunflowers?  Well, it depends on the variety and how well they produce dye.  This being a particularly dry year so far, they ought to contain quite a bit of dye.  I may put a mesh bag around one of the seed heads of each type so I can harvest the seeds before the birds can get to them.  They can have the rest.


You can tell it is humid this morning.  Look at the low-lying cloud hovering over this soybean field.  I think it is lovely, but, then again, it’s early morning and still only in the low 70’s.


One Response

  1. DelightedHands Says:

    The garden looks like it is moving right along for midsummer! Those Coreopsis will let loose soon enough!
    A dyer’s garden is an exciting prospect! Don’t forget Indigo!

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