Sunday, February 26, 2017

Bali Dye Garden -- Yellows and Reds

reds in Threads of Life shop, Ubud, Bali
Red-dyed yarn and cloth
 in Threads of Life shop, Ubud, Bali
Why did the tropical Asian dye garden lack plants for yellow dyes and have so many marked as red dyes?

I thought I knew a lot about dyeing. I’ve grown most of the dye plants available commercially, for example madder, weld, and dyer's safflower, I've dyed with spinach, onion skins, red cabbage (link) and other fruits, vegetables and spices that have a reputations for producing dyes. I've thrown practically everything that grew in my garden, from marigolds to English ivy, into a dye pot and I've gathered wild plants from aspen and bindweed (link) to yarrow to make dyes.

recently-dyed silks
 Silk scarves I dyed in 2016
And yet, in Ubud, Bali, the dye garden of Threads of Life had plants I had only read about and ingredients for processes I'd never thought of trying. An afternoon was not enough to really understand what I saw.

Doubtless you are thinking: of course there would be new plants, the native plants of the central U.S. are very different from Bali, in tropical Asia. And that's is part of it.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Visiting Scotland--Beautiful Orkney

Orkney, Scotland

Sometimes the places I go are imbued with romance from my childhood. Ah, Orkney! In the King Arthur tales of my childhood, Sir Gareth of Orkney was my favorite. (Cliffnotes) Many places associated with King Arthur are in southern England, for example Cornwall, so I never grasped how far Gareth traveled to serve with King Arthur.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Carnivorous Plants, from Legos

Southeast Asia is famous for diverse and bizarre insectivorous plants.

For example these Nepenthes pitchers, seen in Seattle's Volunteer's Park Conservatory. About five inches long, the pitchers capture and digest insects to provide essential nutrients for the plant. Carnivorous plants are most diverse in low-nutrient ecosystems such as tropical bogs.


So I was pleased to see Nepenthes pitchers at the Gardens by the Bay in Singapore.


But wait! those aren't plants, those are built from legos!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Ancient Seeds of Lotus

lotus Nelumbo nucifera
Sacred lotus, Nelumbo nucifera
The sacred lotus, Nelumbo nucifera, is perhaps the most iconic plant of Asia. (Post about lotus)

But it is the subject of ongoing scientific study because of the longevity of its seeds.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Anniversary, the Fourth One

Hardrangar Fjord, Norway
Hardrangar Fjord, Norway
I started this blog in February of 2013. What an experience it has been!