nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘seeds

Gardening in my Veg-trugs

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In late May, I planted my Veg-trugs. Veg-trugs (available from Lee Valley Tools, Halifax) are small portable garden troughs perfect for a deck garden.

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This year I have planted three vegetables:

cucumber

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zucchini

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yellow wax bean

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As you can see, all are up. The maple seeds around each plant will sprout and will take lots of time to remove.

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I’ll update on progress as the summer unfolds.

All my best,

Jane

Written by jane tims

June 15, 2018 at 7:00 am

harvesting colour – mail order weld and woad

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The final manuscript of poetry from my ‘harvesting colour’ project is due at the end of October.  However, I don’t think these adventures with using natural dyes are ending.  I have enjoyed this project so much and I am so proud of my basket of home-dyed, hand spun yarns.

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some of my balls of hand dyed wool

some of my balls of hand dyed wool

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balls of hand-dyed wool

 

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I took a step towards next year’s batch of yarn by thinking about starting a dyer’s garden  (so many of the interesting plants I have read about are not available locally).  I would love to try growing some of those traditional medieval-sounding plants in my dyeing.  Weld, Woad and Woadwaxen – don’t they sound almost magical?  Most of the plants used through the ages for dyeing have the species name of tinctoria, tinctorius, tinctorium, or tinctorum (from the Latin tingo, tingere – to dip, to soak, to dye).

Examples of plants with ‘Dyer’s’ in the common name or ‘tinct‘ in the species name are:

  • Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius L.) – flowers give pink or yellow
  • Dyer’s Alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria (L.) Tausch) – roots give purple-grey
  • Dyer’s Chamomile (Anthemis tinctoria L.) – flowers or leaves give a greeny-yellow
  • Dyer’s Mulberry, Fustic (Chlorophora tinctoria (L.) Gaudich.) – wood gives a greeny-yellow
  • Dyer’s Coreopsis (Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt.) – flowers give an orange or brown
  • Dyer’s Greenwood, Woadwaxen (Genista tinctoria L.) – plant tops give a pale green or yellow
  • Dyer’s Woad, Woad (Isatis tinctoria L.) – leaves give blue
  • Weld or Dyer’s Rocket (Reseda luteola L.) – plants tops give yellow
  • Madder (Rubia tinctorum L.) – roots give red
  • Dyer’s Knotweed, Japanese Indigo (Polygonum tinctorium Aiton) – leaves give blue

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To begin with, I sent to Richters Herb Specialists ( https://www.richters.com/ ) in Goodwood, Ontario for Weld and Woad.  And I have Rita Buchanan’s book A Dyer’s Garden to help me get the best results.

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packets of seed for planting next spring

packets of seed for planting next spring

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Well, the seeds have now arrived.  Next spring I’ll find a sheltered spot with the right conditions and try to grow these two.  I listen to the tiny seeds shaking in their packets and wish for May.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

October 3, 2014 at 7:09 am

autumn black and white

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Roaming around the countryside, the weekend before last, deluged by color from orange and yellow trees and crimson fields of blueberry, I was interested by the contrast in the ditches.  A month ago, they were a riot of yellow or purple as the goldenrods, tansies and asters presented themselves, species by species.  Now, they are done with blooming and are in the business of releasing their seeds. 

To attract pollinators for setting their seeds, flowers put on a competitive display of color and form.  But dispersing their seeds is a different process altogether.  Many depend on the wind to carry their seeds to ideal sites for next year’s bloom and the wind is color-blind.  Grey, white and even black are the dominant colors in the ditches.

Seeds dispersed by wind either flutter to the ground, or float in the air.  Often, they are assisted by a special seed form.  For example, maple keys are flattened and aerodynamic so they spin and travel some distance as they fall.  Seeds of goldenrod and aster have feathery white bristles (called the pappus, a modified sepal) to help them float through the air.   The term pappus comes from the Latin pappus meaning ‘old man’, an apt description of the white heads of the flowers, gone to seed.

Another species in the ditch, Common Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare L.), also known as Golden-buttons, ordinarily has bright yellow flowers in a flat head.  Now, it has joined the black and white revue, showing black seed-heads against feathery leaves.

The seeds of Tansy, in a form called an achene, have no special adaptation for flight.   This time of year, these seeds are dry and ready for dispersal by gravity. 

 

autumn black

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dry leaves

silent

colorless

wonder withdrawn, into the vortex of

no hue, no delight

cones suppressed, rods perceive

absence, black seed in heads of Tansy

absorb all light, feathered foliage

 darkest green, approaching black

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© Jane Tims  2011

Written by jane tims

October 24, 2011 at 6:44 am

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