Enchanted garden

Patterns of orchestrated planting, fruiting trees aglow, petal-loads of ornate flower dye. London’s fathomless black-grey mourn of the century, displaced by colour-flood of Spilsbury garden’s. Echoing nature, sage dungaree’s and mint cardigan, Tania gave the tour. Brushing humungous rosehips tresses, squidging damp grass, we gathered dye-plants, pausing to rehouse jazzy yellow backed spiders. Flo and I were phonetically introduced to botanical names of the familiar, pink meadowsweet as Philip-under-hula-rubra-maximus. And we invented, with Flo’s cherished Madder-baby.

Outdoor pigmentation brought inside, silk-linen curtains exploring deep yellow weld. We were introduced to Kaori, maker of intricate ceramic plants, and the photographer Ngoc. Serendipitously, the dress made with the Ceres Collaboration day fabric was with me. A pair of chilly flip-flops later, and Ngoc shot divine pictures of it wafting amongst ethereal avenues of trees, and stretching in the  apple-glade. 

Collaborative dress. Image: Ngoc Minh Ngo

Slow preparation. Daisy, housed under a huge metallic structure with an arc open to the sun, was our dye-paste making companion. We cooked nineteen colours, from Poly-tunnel dahlia dead-heads to Stink-soaked prairie sunset dahlia. Ngoc and Kaori gathered rose-hips, meticulously deseeding, to transform into flame sweet jam. 

Brim-full vistas; lime Spanish pestle crushing home grown woad, wicker barrow packed with equipment, blue wire chair, sunset fields on Cranborne Chase. Sublime to print in the garden, overlapping shapes onto silk-satin, washing screens in a wheel-barrow, tantalised by new dye-pastes. Designs finished in gloam light, autumn cool slinks over tables, ready for steam fixing, we wait for the colour metamorphosis.

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