The Natural Dye Garden is located at the National Wool Museum. The Museum tells the story of one of Wales’ most important and widespread industries, wool. Drefach Felindre in the beautiful Teifi valley was once a thriving centre for the woollen industry supplying fabrics to the world. While sharing the fascinating history of this industry, the Museum also plays an important role in keeping alive its traditional skills, as well as promoting wool as a sustainable material for our future: for fashion fabrics, home goods and as building and insulation fibre.
The National Wool Museum Garden Volunteers are responsible for the Museum’s Dye Garden and it is an important asset to the Museum. It is a wonderful sustainable garden filled with a variety of plants which have been traditionally used for their natural dyes. Flowers, leaves and roots are harvested as the season progresses and dried or frozen ready for dyeing, for example, fleece, yarn or fabric in the end of season Autumn workshops.
The National Wool Museum Garden Volunteers are:
Jilly Doe, Jo Taylor, Steve Rees, Verrinia Rees, Pixie Harcourt, Maureen Bibby, Susan Martin, Helen Fogden.
It offers the Garden Volunteers an opportunity to draw on and extend their skills and knowledge to carry out specialised dye plant gardening as well as meeting new people and chatting to visitors about the Dye Garden. They take an active role in the community, for example, they work with the local primary school eco group offering different activities including dye and sustainable gardening workshops.
In 2019 the Volunteers worked with Dr Nicol, of the Sustainable Places Research Institute at Cardiff University. They provided a valuable contribution to the Economic Botany Collection which is held in National Museum Cardiff to expand the range of dye plants in the Collection.
Last year, the Dye Garden was again awarded the prestigious 2020/2021 Green Flag Community Award and another application has been submitted this year. The Green Flag Community Award is the international mark of a quality park or green space and it is testament to the Garden Volunteers and everything that they do.
Speaking about receiving the Green Flag Community Award, Ann Whitall, National Wool Museum Manager, said: “We are delighted to receive this recognition of the work we’re doing to support local biodiversity and sustainable practices. We have a long history of working closely with our local community to ensure that our activities make a positive contribution to the local rural economy. That includes our role as a tourist attraction and educational centre, but increasingly it also means that we are developing a role in supporting the renaissance of wool as a future fibre and stimulating a revival in its use and value.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the volunteers have not had full access to the garden, over the past year. The COVID-19 restrictions have also meant they have been unable to volunteer all together and have been working in bubbles instead. Nevertheless, they have been fantastic and carried out a lot of work on the garden in the Autumn when they could do so. They have also been planting seeds from home and planning for the future.
The Volunteers hope to develop the sustainable aspects of the garden including increasing biodiversity whilst maintaining its importance as an historical dye colour resource.
For more information or if you would like to get involved then please e-mail
Facebook/ Twitter @amgueddfawlan