The garden beds dedicated to textile and dye
plans present in rotation each year perennials and seasonals grown specifically
to obtain vegetal fibers or colored pigments for clothes and fabrics. Before
the introduction of cotton, nettle, linen, and hemp were the most common plants
for textiles fibers, accompanied by wild plants and flowers of great usefulness
like teasel, Dipsacum fullonum,used to card wool, or soapwort,
officinalis, important in washing and cleaning. Woad, Isatis
tinctoria, and rubia, Rubia tinctorum, are surely
protagonists among the dye plants: they have always been grown in Northern
Italy to extract the colors red (rubia) and blue (woad) alongside many other
wild plants that made the colors yellow (Scotch broom and chamomile) or brown (walnut).
In all the garden. it is a surprise and a discovery to be surrounded by
well-known plants for their production of fruit, vegetables, and medicines but
used in the past also to extract pigments (for example pomegranates,
elderberries, spinach, mint, and dandelion).