In the past I have used wild flowers and flowers that randomly entered my garden to dye when I could. My mantra has been, "I wonder what colour that makes". This year we planted a real dye garden.
Isobel Mowbray drafted the design with the plants we knew would grow here, those that weren't invasive,and those that wouldn't have the neighbours complaining. She wanted something attractive as well as useful and wove non-dye plants into the plan. It was important to both of us that the garden be as ecologically friendly as possible... and so now we have tiny milkweed plants in hopes of monarch butterflies in the future. Isobel chose both groundcover and tall plants, early bloomers and late bloomers. Some were started from seed. Some were available at local garden centres. It's only in its first year but it's already blooming and beautiful.
Most of the plants I'll be able to harvest this year (woad and weld), but some are going to be years in the making (madder and baptisia). I'm hoping to update this page as things get made into beautiful colours. Below are some galleries of the plants and, where they've been turned into dyes, some of the results of our labour.