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Prescription in Pink

I can’t resist the possibilities of a plant for color. Leaves, seeds and petals. They lure the explorer in me to splash around for surprises. This summer I've cultivated hopi sunflowers for their india ink black. The amaranth has grown tall in the garden, embracing its ruby stems and leaves with a blanket of southern heat.

In Northern California , roses tempt me , their petticoats aflutter as they climb the garden palisade.

Varieties I have no names for, from white to pale yellow that hombre to fuschia.

Photo credit: Shara Matlin

Or magenta.

Photo credit: Shara Matlin

Velvet corolla luring the lady.

It's the season for roses.

Edible, like the amaranth, but more willing to yield their blush to the cloth.

Amaranth is a least my experiments have proven so.

Amaranth liquor with leaves and stems

Its raspberry bath disappoints; whether acetic or alkaline, the color migrates to it's edge...a suicide of pigment.

I still see beauty here.

Cochineal, another red, is generous like the rose. Its hue blossoms in soft water.

Cochineal dye: harvested from beetles
Cotton, linen and vintage lace in cochineal
Cochineal as ink

I proceed to batch some rose dye like a recipe for salad dressing, - vinegar, water, lemon juice and petals.

Heated on the fire or left to steep like sun tea, the color is pure and permanent.

Dampened the pink is pale.

Here is my prescription:

Another rose, another pink

Some things give eagerly and generously.

Some things take more coaxing.

Some things reserve themselves without explanation.

Some things take their own direction.

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