We have had some wonderful bright sunny autumnal days on Arran this week with some real warmth in the sun. It has been a joy to spend time scouring the hedgerows on the island! The sun has been ripening berries and enticing out some late flowers on shrubs. St Johns Wort is a prolific shrub in gardens on the island (including our own) as well as the smaller wild plants popping up in hedgerows if you look carefully. The sun has really brought out the flowers and I decided to concentrate on collecting a few flowers each day to build up a supply of bright yellow flowers to experiment with.
Here is my stash:
I read up how to create a dye bath from these stunning lemon yellow flowers, and having covered them in cold water I brought them to a simmer in the pot and left them to bubble for about 10 minutes. I then left them to soak overnight and simmered them again for about 10 minutes the next day. I had a clear light yellow liquid after I had drained the flowers and so popped my Blue Faced Leicester fleece into the dye bath. I brought the pot to the simmer again for 10 minutes and left it overnight.
Who would believe that these bright yellow flowers would produce such a strong terracotta colour?!
I was told that there would be surprises when experimenting with plant dyes but this is amazing!
I was walking past a small St Johns Wort plant in a hedgerow this afternoon and think I might have seen the link in the colour. On this plant the berries have started to form and from the clusters of yellow flowers these deep claret berries are forming, so maybe the clues were there all along!
I have lots more to discover so watch this space for my next experiment!