Its funny. When you realize you can make a pigment out of something that you don't have in your yard, and that is also not a weed (i.e. you can't just stop along the side of the road and pick it like pokeweed anywhere you like) it kind of makes you go crazy! When we read about Iris dye we started eyeing up everyone's iris plants in their yard... (for the record we have them, but ours are white and don't have any dye to give) "look at those!", "whoa, those are the darkest ones we have seen", "can we drive by at night and pick them?" "do you think they have cameras?!!" In the end I mustered up the guts and went in to the Charlottesville Veterinary Clinic, who had the biggest, darkest purple Irises and just told them what we wanted to do with them and sheepishly asked if I could pick some... people are so nice and so no sneaky flower stealing was necessary... whew. I am posting pics of what we got from that batch... we haven't made anything from the beautiful blue-green ink just yet, so there will have to be a follow up post soon to show what it looks like. In the meantime! Look at these beautiful flowers before we destroyed them!
So we boiled the flowers until they lost their coloration (they turn sort of greyish pink) and then added alum to fix the color. At that point the ink turned from purple to dark blue-green. Then we added glycerin and vinegar to stabilize the liquid. More pics of it in action soon. Irises are done and we are grateful that someone let us pick some!
Here is our garden as of mid-May... its already much bigger now! One of my favorite new things we have growing is German Chamomile. Well its sort of new anyhow, last year Jeremy planted it and it never showed up. The seeds are tiny and herbs can sometimes be really hard to germinate... we were stoked and surprised to find four plants that had decided to come up this year instead! Volunteers! So we transplanted them together into their own little section and they are going wild! Everyday we get more and more flowers and the fresh chamomile tea is so delicate and wonderful.
Hope everyone is well and enjoying the beginnings of summer. We will post more updates soon!