Yesterday I went east a for a couple of hours on the train and, despite the gloom and mist all the way, found that spring on the east coast is definitely a week or so ahead of here. This effect is usually evident going south but I don’t remember noticing it as markedly going east before. I guess it has more to do with the milder coast rather than the direction I travelled in … anyway, in my parent’s garden there was some lovely cherry blossom; the daffodils were opening, unlike the tight buds I have in my garden; and I found some nettles pushing confidently through. I gathered a carrier bag full to bring home for dyeing, something I’ve been waiting to do for a while, eager to find a nice green.
However, I must be doing something wrong. Instead of a green I got a rather boring pale brown. What am I doing wrong? Am I heating them too much? I poured on boiling water from the kettle and then simmered/steeped very gently for an hour before removing the wilted leaves and adding my fabric. Perhaps it is because I left bits of stalk in there – should it really be just the leaves? Do I need to tear the leaves up more? Advice please!