(****January 19, 2015 – editing the post to mention that the plant that I thought was broom, and had been referred to me locally as broom, is probably gorse. Thank you to Frances for sending me all the links on the two plants.)
Even in January Broom is in bloom on the island. It is plant that is easy to love and hate. It is lovely to see flowers in the dead of winter, however Broom is very invasive and is actually quite a problem. On occasion groups get together to pull out Broom and stop the spread of this invasive plant.
Last year I decided to try to collect some Broom flowers to try dyeing wool with. Rumor has it, it should work. Well what an experience it was collecting the flowers. The spikes on the plants are so sharp that you are constantly being poked, scraped or cut; there was nothing enjoyable about the collection process. By the time we were finished collecting the blooms I had lost interest (probably due to the wounds!), so I dried out the flowers and they are still waiting to be used in a dye pot.
This year I am going to pass on collecting broom for dyeing, instead I will focus on marigolds as a dye plant. Marigolds cause a lot fewer injuries (plus they make my planters look pretty!).