our dye gardens

dye Garden @ Marine Terrein

On april 20th we set up the first garden for the local color project at Mariene Terrein. During the project, we have been caring for the beautiful biochrome suppliers that we planted here. We had weekly checks to see how the plants were doing and adapted our care plan if needed. The garden gives us an extra sense of connection with nature, like working in symbiosis, we provide the plants with what they need to grow and they give us the ability to dye beautiful colors. This page will explain more in detail how this garden is key to the Local Color project. 



This garden is part of the initiative Park x Park, which is exploring ways in which we can redesign our city. Due to the sustainability objectives that Gemeente Amsterdam has drawn up about creating a city without polluting cars, many car parking spots will be empty. We see opportunities to redesign these public spaces for community-driven projects in which education and social objectives are the primary goals. Moreover, we want to promote small-scale production according to the closed-loop principle.

image by Marieneterrein

With local color, we propose to redesign public spaces into gardens in which we can grow dye plants. We want to educate and motivate the people living in Amsterdam to create an active community around natural dyes. We don’t only want to show people the possibilities; to see the unseen, but also to give them the tools to work with plants and natural dyes themselves. We aim to inspire a movement where individuals work with innovative and creative possibilities that a greener city can provide! 

design of the garden

The image below shows the first lay out of the garden at Mariene Terrein, explore the different plants by clicking on them!

We planned to include plants in the garden that would represent all primary colors so we would be able to create (almost) any color with them, moreover we chose to plant a few plants that represent some secondary colors. The map of the garden is shown below. We planted madder for red. Coreopsis, weld, st john’s wort and marigold for yellow. Japanese indigo, woad and chocolat cosmos for blue. And lastly we planted hollyhock for purple. 

After one year we decided to make some changes to the garden design. We noticed that Japanese indigo did not do very well in the garden at mariene terrein. We think this is because the plant is sensitive to harsh winds. The Japanese Indigo seemed to grow a lot better at our little rehabilitation garden (see below). This garden is located in a courtyard that does not receive any winds. Therefore, we decided to replant Japanese indigo here, and use the two plots at Mariene terrein for two plants that did not have a lot of growing space in the first design; Chocolat cosmos and Woad!

updates from this garden

Below you can see some pictures of updates from our garden at Mariene Terrein!

Rehabilitation garden @ pinto

On August 17th we started our second garden at one of the locations of Waag Futurelab; at Huis de Pinto. This place has become the home of a number of our Japanese indigo plants. The plants are located within the small and serene courtyard of the building. Here they can get a lot of sunlight and are simultaneously shielded from harsh winds; the perfect growth environment for Japanese Indigo. All the Japanese Indigo plants that seemed a little unhappy have been brought to this safe haven to build up some strength. This is why we call this garden our little rehabilitation garden!