Dye Garden


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An almost “secret garden” is tucked into the southwest corner of the Herb Garden at the end of the Historic Rose Walk. A tall pleached cockspur hawthorn hedge forms a boundary on the south and west sides and arches over the Rose Iron Works “secret gate” at the end of a path.

Plants in this garden are those historically and currently used for coloring. They include: dyer’s woad, one of the earliest plants cultivated for its blue pigment; golden rod, Queen Anne’s lace, and bed straw whose leaves, stems, and flowers have long been sources of yellows and greens; and madder whose roots provided the rich red of British red coats and whose pigment was one of the first to be chemically analyzed and then synthesized from coal tar on a commercial scale thus spurring the development of the chemical dye industry.

Click on any thumbnail below for a larger view.

Photos by Kate Williams