e u c a l y p t u s * g l o b u l u sIt is also named Tasmanian Blue Gum, Southern Blue Gum or Blue Gum. It is an evergreen tree, one of the most widely cultivated trees native to Australia. They typically grow from 30 to 55 m (98 to 180 ft) tall.The species name is from the Latin globulus, a little button, referring to the shape of the operculum.
Blue gum is one of the most extensively planted eucalypts. Its rapid growth and adaptability to a range of conditions is responsible for its popularity. It is especially well-suited to countries with a Mediterranean-type climate, but also grows well in high altitudes in the tropics.
Blue gum timber is yellow-brown, fairly heavy, with an interlocked grain, and is difficult to season. The tree is widely cultivated elsewhere in the world. It is primarily planted as a pulpwood, and also as an important fuelwood in many countries. It has poor lumber qualities due to growth stress problems, but can be used in construction, fence posts and poles.
The leaves are steam distilled to extract eucalyptus oil. E.globulus is the primary source of global eucalyptus oil production.
Blue gum flowers are considered a good source of nectar and pollen for bees.
I had enough leaves to make another dye. I asked Eva for tips, as she had already dyed with eucalyptus. She referred to a book we have in common, a book I had bought thanks to her, after seeing her eco prints on her Flickr stream. That book is a treasure in itself, not only it is absolutely a delight to look at (each page is so beautiful, I swear) but is so informative, even you don't dye itself. The author is the botanical alchemist, artist & dyer, India Flint. I had bought her book "Eco Colour" a couple of months ago, but life being life, I had a bit, er, forgotten about the book, and anyway I had nothing to dye with. Then, when I had the opportunity to dye with eucalyptus, and after asking Eva, I immediately returned to her book. To my own delight.
So, after reading that she was advicing to mordant cellulosic fibers (such as the cotton & linen I was planning to dye) with soy. It was easier for me to use soy milk, so that's what I used. I soaked the two pieces in soymilk & let them more than a whole day in it. Then I rinced them & started the same process for making the dye bath with the leaves. Still in the enamel pot. Brought the water to boil, added the leaves, let simmer for 45mn, removed the leaves, added the fabrics & lowered the heat & left for 45mn. Once the time was over, I DIDN'T leave the fabrics in the enamel pot. I decided to use the what-used-to-be-stainless-steel-but-which-apparently-isn't-anymore bucket, and poured the dye bath & the fabrics in that bucket. And left it overnight. What was my surprise to see that the yellow dye bath had turned to ..... dark grey !!! I left them a little bit more, and rinced them yesterday evening & dried them in the shade all night. The final, and dry, result is a slightly brownish grey, which is absolutely delicious ! Look :
What can I add ? Um, yes. As India Flint & Eva pointed, the quality of water does matter. Our water is quite hard, so I added a bit of white vinegar in the water before boiling, to get at least a neutral PH water. Thank goodness I have little scientists at home, and can use PH paper as much as I want !
I am beyond excited with the results, and my mom, who should visit tomorrow, is going to bring more eucalyptus leaves, and I'm sure I'll be dyeing again with them the next few days. She is supposed to bring me an old pot in which I will be able to steam & make eco prints.
I have been a little inspired by the leaves & have painted with watercolors this morning. I hope to show something soon.
Thank you very much for reading, girls :)