Monday, January 19, 2009

What's happening at Joybilee Farm while we're closed for Winter?

2009 is the International Year of Natural Fiber. Joybilee Farm will be acknowledging the year with our 2nd annual linen festival on August 8th and an indigo – woad dye demonstration in July.

We are currently closed for the winter and continue to receive website orders.

We will be participating in the Boundary Spinner and Weaver Guild Art Gallery show and the Grand Forks Museum natural fiber and historical textiles show with live demonstrations. The museum has requested that we provide live fiber animals for their show.

Our natural dye gardens will be redesigned this Spring to make them more accessible to the visiting public. We are putting them closer to the studio, and adding permanent perennial beds for the madder and dyer’s chamomile. We are doubling the garden space dedicated to woad-indigo production, as well, since there was a big interest in the blue dye plant. (Last summer I wasn't allowed to harvest any of it -- the student was rationing it for her science project -- with more plants I may actually get to play with it, too.)
Our basket willow beds will continue to be expanded as well. We are growing about 20 different varieties of basket willow for various textures and colours in the garden as well as several colours for basket weaving and natural dyeing.

We are also planning to expand the linen demonstration garden to allow more hands on experimenting for our visitors. The linen was a big hit with our visitors last summer.


  1. Finding your farm online made my day!

    I was looking for information about Woad, and yours is very helpful.

    I'm hoping to start my own little dye garden this year, and I would like to know if you sell or trade seeds for any of the varieties you grow.

    I plan to wildcraft some of the bounty that grows on and around the Lanark Ontario sheep farm I live on, but I'd like to cultivate a few classics as well so that I can experiment with dyeing wool next fall. If you do share/sell seed, please let me know if you get a chance. I have a gmail account, and my handle is 'msoddgers'.

    I'm also very interested in your use of basket willow for shore protection and as a source of natural fibres. We have a shallow lake here that might really benefit from that over the long term.

    Good luck with your garden redesign.

  2. Hi, Karen
    Yes, we sell woad seed, hand selected for an increase in blue pigment. We have two different selections. The Birmingham plants give a pink from the leaves after the indigo is extracted.

    The above link will take you directly to the page for woad seed and a Paypal shopping cart. Woad seed prices include shipping.

    Willow for shore protection and weaving -- the best varieties are the Salix purpurea spp. These have a bitter taste and so aren't well liked by deer. There are many textures to choose from and most will grow 6 to 8 ft. in a season, giving you long withies for weaving. Our willow will be ready mid April.
    Warm regards,