TFN Juniors Explore ‘Colour in Plants’ Nov 12th

The TFN Juniors met on one of our first really cool days this fall, Saturday Nov 12th to explore the theme of colours in plants. 

Using natural dyes from Goldenrod, Buckthorn berries, Walnut husks, Raspberries and Spinach, the Juniors prepared cotton, mordanted T-shirts for the dye bath. We were amazed at everyone’s creativity. Some people cut up shirts so pieces could be put in different dye baths, to be stitched together later.  Others made cool patterns by pinching T-shirt fabric  together with elastic bands in interesting ways.

Dyeing with summer flowers is a great way to preserve the colours of summer for grey winter days to come.

While we waited for the colour to take, we collected flowers and leaves from the Resurrection Pollinator Garden. We used green Bush Honeysuckle leaves to do a chromatography experiment, so we could see the colours separating out on a coffee filter strip. We decorated wooden letters with colourful petals and leaves. We also made our own pens out of Garlic Mustard stems so we could write messages with Walnut and Buckthorn ink.  Some folks even collected enough Goldenrod in the Garden to boil up and make a dye. There were also branches loaded with Buckthorn berries that we picked and crushed to see the purple and green colours they produce. 

We look forward to seeing all the Juniors on Dec 3rd at Colonel Sam Smith Park to welcome our winter ducks. We will learn about the dangers of migration, and how Arctic ducks survive all winter in the open waters of Lake Ontario.

The Toronto Field Naturalists wish to acknowledge this land through which we walk. For thousands of years it has been the traditional land of the Wendat, the Seneca, and most recently, the Mississauga of the Credit River. Today it is still the home to many Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to be on this land.