Gardening is not my favourite thing. It is messy and hard work and we have a very large garden. Mark, my husband had a go a few years ago when his mid-life crisis kicked in, but after the polytunnel had blown away 3 times, the last time permanently we both gave up trying to live off 2 beetroots, 3 peas and a large handful of Chard. He bought a camera and I bought a guitar.
5 years later in 2019 and the barn redevelopment project is turning like a juggernaut from a building project to a money-making scheme and dream come true as far as being able to spin, weave and teach is concerned for me. I then realised the garden had been totally neglected and would require yet another large effort for it to complement the accommodation we were offering.
The penny dropped that many spinners and weavers I know dye their own yarns and a natural dye garden could be a fantastic add-on to the back to the earth philosophy of the spinning with wool from the sheep we can see from our back window and the idea of the dye plant garden was born.
So why go down the Organic route you may ask? To be honest I was possibly persuaded by the notion of volunteer labour to help with the project in the form of Wwoofers. Wwoof means:
WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms, UK (WWOOF™ UK) [and] is part of a worldwide movement linking visitors with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange thereby helping to build a sustainable global community.(https://wwoof.org.uk/about/what-wwoof).
As a student, many years ago I had travelled and volunteered around Europe and loved the idea that we could host volunteers from all over the world to help us develop this garden and share our incredible location.
Also I have always tended to reduce, reuse, recycle and help the planet as much as I can. So having read the information on the www.goorganic.org.uk web site about the Henry Doubleday Research Association’s guidelines of how Organic Gardening began taking care to love and nurture the soil avoiding chemicals rather than force change with artificial additives I was hooked.