Dye plants in the Schacht Gardens

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It’s planting season! Employee garden plots are one of the many perks at Schacht. Each spring, several of us dig in and get our hands dirty in summer gardens. We’re so happy that Schacht has reopened and we can start our gardens—safely, with masks on of course.

I have been planting dye plants in my employee garden since I’m still learning about the ones that grow wild in Colorado. Several years back, when I lived in Minnesota, I used to gather dye plants that grew on the side of the road. I would pick loads of tansy, goldenrod, and yarrow, cart them back to my house, and hang them to dry. Then my roommate revealed that she was allergic to the plants that were hanging over our heads in the living room! Since then, I’ve kept my wild dyestuffs more contained.

I also preserve food waste that can be re-used for dyeing. Last year I grew marigolds and collected onion skins. This year I have planted marigolds again, along with the indigo seeds I was gifted. I’m looking forward to following the processing methods of Rowland Ricketts and John Marshall as I grow and harvest my indigo!

Here in Boulder, we’re only an hour away from the Chatfield Farms Janice Ford Memorial Dye Garden. If they re-open later in the year, I’m looking forward to visiting and researching what dye plants I might try in my garden next year!

Carrie Miller

Carrie is the Marketing and Education Coordinator at Schacht Spindle Company. She received her MFA in Fibers from Colorado State University and currently teaches textiles at the Sunflower Art Studio. She has enjoyed opportunities to teach at universities in northern Colorado, as a guest in public schools and at the Colorado Art Educators Association. Carrie is first and foremost, a mom to her 6-year-old daughter, Luva.