A four-acre croft in the Outer Hebrides, with veg, flowers and plants to make dyes from.
The Western Isles weather website is reminding everyone that the winds will start in earnest soon here and advise that everything should be tied down. It has been a good summer and the work we’ve put into the garden has seen it improve.
We need to make a windbreak for the polytunnel as soon as possible, as well as taking down the sweet peas, which have been growing up wigwams in pots.
I like the whole idea of ‘putting the garden to bed’, although this year I’ve got a mass of spring bulbs to plant, from the usual narcissus to fritillaria, chionodoxa and brodiaea. I also have 100 irises I fancy putting in pots, so I think a few relaxing baths will be called for with all that planting! The polytunnel is doing well and I’ve optimistically planted some more French beans – they’re growing well, but we’ll have to see if the light levels are good enough. We had a couple of coach parties come to see the sheep (we’ve got the only registered flock of Boreray sheep on the island. They’re an old, native breed and are now very rare). While they were here they had a tour of the gardens. How people open their gardens so often is amazing – we both found it stressful, even though everyone was complimentary. Dyeing with our plants continues. We’re now getting into the richer tones, using roots and barks rather than the petals and flowers. I’m growing on madder ( Rubia tinctorum) and woad ( Isatis tinctoria) in the polytunnel, with hope for rich reds and blues in the New Year. The darker evenings do mean, of course, more time to drool over the seed catalogues. Such joy and such plans – and all as you sit round a warm peat fire with a wee tot of the ‘water of life’. Happy days!
Dahlias for dyeing make a splash in the polytunnel Cracking colour from marigolds
Who’d have thought pansies produce acid-yellow plant dye? I’ve had such enormous veg plants in the polytunnel