Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Goldenrod

I let the garden go this year.  I love vegetables, but I don't enjoy gardening, and my neighbor is a farmer, and the yard is overrun with squirrels and rabbits anyway, so I've decided to leave the tomato growing to the experts and spend my time doing other things. It's a four-minute walk to the market from my front door anyway, so why fight it?  What I probably should do with what used to be the garden is to move the (very few remaining) plants I want to keep, and till up the rest, and plant some grass seed.  [Ugh, grass.  This fascination with your LAWN.  Don't get me started.  I wish I could have a big truck come and dump gravel over the whole thing. Anyway.]  If I'd done that when I should have, though, the goldenrod wouldn't have had a chance.  I know, goldenrod grows in every ditch at every roadside in America, and there's no shortage of it, but it was kind of nice watching it take off here, in what used to be my garden.  The stalks are towering.  They are, I'm not exaggerating, eight feet tall.  
They glow in the sunlight.  They are sneezy little handfuls of pollen, to be sure, but they are the most succulent lemony-lime yellow.  
I waited until they looked like this--partly open, but not fully-blown, all the way open.  Just a couple of the florets had popped, and the rest were still loosely budded.  This is when I love goldenrod, before it blows all the way open and looks like powdered mustard.  Right now, it looks delicate but tough, like something from the prairie.  The goldenrod patch is a tremendous forest, with one little angel wig on top of each tree.  I clipped them into a pot, a few handfuls at a time, as they were ready, and boiled them in my kitchen, in my dedicated dyepot.    
This is my big 12-quart dyepot, filled about 2/3 full with flower heads.  I covered the flowers with water, soaked them overnight, and then boiled it all for an hour the next day.  We tried in vain to decipher the smell.  Doc and I could not decide whether it stank like holy hell, or whether it smelled vaguely of asparagus, which we love.  It is not a food smell, at all, but something about it is not terrible.  It smells like baby powder and feet.  Or carrots sauteing in butter and old garbage.  Maybe I've lived in the country too long.  Get me to the Chanel No. 5, stat!  Anyway, after an hour of smell-related light comedy, I removed the plant material and Gently added two skeins of mordanted yarn (I used Paton's Roving in "Aran") simmering it gently for about 30 minutes.  I rinsed the skeins until the water ran clear, and then hung them to dry.  In a week's time, I had this:
Summer, captured.  That'll be a sweater.  Not gray, not gray at all.  

17 comments:

  1. Just so lovely, Kristin! I love seeing goldenrod everywhere. 😊

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  2. Beautiful colour. That will be a summery jumper.

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  3. Fabulous. You are so creative. I understand your feelings about gardening.

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  4. very pretty color - I would not be able to have the pollen in the house but could do a camp stove set up outside and the smell would not bother!

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  5. beautiful colour, can't wait to see what you design &/or create?
    have never seen golden rod so tall! that's quite amazing
    thanx for sharing

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  6. Oh dear - when my computer was factory reset, I lost my identity on your blog, and I don't know which of the drop down box choices will allow me to recreate myself as Aunt Barbara! Nonetheless, your glass-is-half-full description of the aroma of boiling goldenrod was hilarious! And the color of the yarn is delicious

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  7. Your glass-is-half-full charitable description of the "aroma" of boiling goldenrod was hilarious! That notwithstanding, the color of the yarn is delicious!

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  8. Wow, I am so impressed it looks beautiful.

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  9. Bet the smell wasn't as bad as the Eucalyptus I boiled up last year! That was truly rank! Love the end result of yours.I'm just a hostage to fortune sometimes!

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  10. Only yesterday Hubz and Were jaunting off for an impromptu dinner out and we passed a large patch of Goldenrod along the road near the entrance to the place we had finally decided to eat. [a local pizza place with a small gathering of tables and some over sized black and white framed photos of streetcars and bridges and what not] Anyway couple this and the talk about how wasteful having a lawn is and I had to write and tell you about our about to collapse cesspool a few years back. Of course it was right out in front of our house and just about center stage of our front lawn... previous owners had installed a watering systems that covered both the sides and front of our property..... there was a wonderful timer and even a rain feature so the system would turn off when it had or was raining. All very impressive and practical.... and then was destroyed because the majority of our front section directly out the front door was getting dug up. Knowing this and how much I despise fertilizers chemicals and wasting water on a lawn I asked my husband if we could spare ourselves the expense of replacing the watering system, and lawn by creating a xeroscape... Only planting perennials that would have the same watering needs and that after they were established would thrive and grow using only the rain water that was natural to our area... He begrudgingly agreed and so it has been since that we no longer water any plants out front unless we have an extreme drought which has happened only once in the handful plus years this garden was planted.... It only took two summers to establish the plants that when in at the first planting.. then only watering the one or two plants I added along the way... to establish them..
    A few years later I decided to create another garden but it was late in the season so I decided to place newspaper and rocks over the area I wanted to replant in - then covered it with a plastic tarp and left it through autumn and winter.... in the spring everything had died back and I merely threw down ad few bags of dirt and compost and planted anew.... Works a charm... Now your situation being a much larger area and your not wanting a garden - this may not be an answer, but perhaps a few plastic tarps and tins to weight them down would make throwing grass seed down a lot easier come next spring....
    Anyway: I love your yellow yarn.... and am wondering what you used as a mordant? Happy knitting and happy Autumn soon to arrive! Enjoy Rhinebeck. Lyn~

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  11. What a lovely shade of yellow you got!

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  12. That's a fabulous colour. What a clever lady.

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  13. The yarn is a gorgeous color - the smell was worth the results!

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  14. Great story so far! Can't wait to find out what the ending is :o)

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  15. Lovely colour. I did that one year but my yellow was mud. Ugh. And yes it smells like holy hell... my hubby thought I was cooking lunch. What mordant did you use? Maybe I should have soaked the goldenrod.

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