cooking with noxious weed control

Just doing my bit to keep invasives from taking over 🙂 Tansy, oh Tansy, i love you, but you’re considered “noxious” here in Alberta. And YES, i get that invasive/non-native weeds plants can be a serious problem. I’m a Nature Girl, but the best Nature is, well, Natural, not “introduced”.

Okay, really, to me, a weed is something that grows in my garden that isn’t edible and/or pretty. I let the purslane and amaranthus go crazy, the millet seeded from the bird feeder, the bindweed in the lawn, the dandilions even. Control is maintained by mowing the Back40 often enough, but not MEGA SHORT (cause A  that’s ugly and B bad practice), so our little nasties there are never taller than 3″. We have a milkweed growing by the side fence where no other garden is, and guard it jealously, as the bees love it, as do other pollinators, and hope and pray that one day, some day we have visits from Monarch butterflies. I don’t think i’ve seen one since i was a child in mid-western Ontario, many many moons ago.

(I should finish this, from 2012…)

BUT, Tansy is really really prevalent here, so i’m ambivalent about the growth, and the destruction of it, as the city and the province would like us to do. On the fence actually, because i cut their pretty little yellow heads off so they can’t set anymore seed, BUT they also reproduce easily from a rhizomatous root. However, because they are so ubiquitous here, i feel no compunction in bringing home bags and bags and bags of decapitated Tanacetum vulgare, to throw in the dyepot fresh, and to dry for future use. The colourfastness is classified as “good””, and with proper mordanting, i don’t worry about its longevity. (Note though, the longest lasting natural yellow is Weld, an ancient–and spendy–dye. Can’t grow my own because it too is a No No here in Alberta.)

Too, yellow is the most scopic of all natural dye plants, from a multitude of sources, some light and wash fast, some not so much. It is however, if you remember your primary mixing of colour, a good base for oranges (think corals and peaches, not pumpkins 🙂 ), greens (teal! emerald!) and browns (chocolate chocolate chocolate!). The photo i showed here is the reason i picked much of this, and plan on stockpiling fibres as bases for overdyeing. I didn’t get *quite* the greens i wanted, but will keep trying.

Tansy on bamboo above overdyed (obviously) with indigo.  I’m going to try again with cotton (because i’m out of the bamboo) that took up a load of oxidized tannin, as the yellow uptake was quite strong.

There were more greens in the shibori samples below, but the indigo is now weak, and needs reviving. Ah, to find that happy balance. The tansy dyed cotton was post modifed in, top to bottom soda ash, iron and copper before the indigo dip.

I need to find a disappearing type of marker as well. Even after the “finishing” of these pieces, the pencil i used is still visible, okay for samples, but not for actual work.


And i also want to do this again!


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