Jun 7, 2024 - June 7, 2024(9am - 5pm)

Gardening with Dye Plants

Taught by: Helen Westergren

Workshop Fee: $125.00

This workshop will teach the basics of growing annual and perennial plants with a focus on cultivating natural dyes. We will work with the Sanborn dye garden to learn why these plants yield the color they do, which plants grow best in our New Hampshire climate, and how to harvest the best color out of the soil. Our primary focus will be the garden’s cornerstone plants, Japanese Indigo (Persicaria tinctoria), Madder (Rubia tinctorum) and Weld (Reseda lutea). We will also cover garden classics like marigold, calendula, and some wild plants you may already have at home.

This workshop will cover basic propagation skills, best planting practices, water and nutrient management, and harvesting. No prior gardening experience is needed for this class but all levels are welcome. Students will leave this class with starts and seeds of their own along with the confidence to begin their own natural dye garden or supplement their extant garden with new plantings. Many of the skills learned in this class have broad applications outside of natural dyes and can be used for all manner of gardening.

It should be noted that we will not be making our own dyes in this class. Our focus will be all the work that goes into growing and preparing materials for the dye pot.

Skills and Techniques:

  • Seed Starting
  • Potting up
  • Perennial division
  • Planting
  • Mulching
  • Watering
  • Fertilizing
  • Harvesting
  • Soil Amendment
  • Botanical nomenclature
  • Home garden design and layout
  • Recognizing specific needs and culture of dye plants


Materials Fee: $50

Special Tools or Equipment: Please bring your own trowel and garden shears, all other tools will be provided by SMF.

Workshop Policies: Please be sure to read our policies before you register for a workshop which can be found here Workshop Policies

5 in stock

(please choose all meals if you are staying on campus.)
We ask students to purchase a meal plan. Our chef can accommodate most dietary needs so please note any restrictions you want us to be aware of on the checkout page.
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