A Dye Garden From History
See the plants that make up the dye garden at the weaver's cottage in historic Roscoe Village.
During a recent visit to historic Roscoe Village in Coschocton, Ohio, I was quite taken by the variety of historic gardens next to the village’s buildings. I’ve seen plenty of period-appropriate medicinal gardens and kitchen gardens, but one garden I hadn’t come across before was the small Dye Garden located near the weaver’s cottage. This garden contains plants that were (and still can be) used to dye fibers for making cloth.
There are a variety of plants that have been used around the world for dying cloth, but the ones shown here are those that grow well in central Ohio. For those interested in planting their own dye garden, try this list for some other plants you may want to include.
The Roscoe Village Visitor’s Center offered a simple display of yarns dyed naturally. Sometimes the process is as easy as simmering the fibers and the plants together in a pot on the stove. However, some plants require the use of a mordant when dying. Mordants are substances that help the dyes stick to the fibers. You can learn more about using natural dyes here.
Do you grow any plants specifically for dying cloth or fibers? Share your suggestions in the comments below.