Monthly Archives: August 2020

Purple loosestrife

Just before the skies darkened with rain I went out to gather purple loosestrife. It is a beautiful riverside plant that contains salicylic acid as reflected in its Latin name ‘Lythrum salicaria’ and in the name ‘loosestrife’. It also dyes warm orangey browns with alum and iron.

Purple loosestrife growing by the Thames. I didn’t harvest any of this plant because it was too beautiful and I felt it should be left for others to enjoy. I also never harvest more than a third of any plant to make sure there will be plenty growing for years to come.
Heading home. Some jobs are impossibly beautiful!
Purple loosestrife and other dye plants hanging up to dry in the real tennis court.


Coreopsis in full bloom
Ready for bundling and binding with string
Coreopsis drying with a sheet beneath to catch seeds

The whole Coreopsis plant dyes beautiful deep oranges on wools and silk.