freshly harvested peach leaves
Earth Arts, Liesel Orend's Dye Garden workshop, 2009
Prunus species include stone fruits, cultivated and wild: peach, cherry, almond, apricot and plum. Peach leaves impart a strong, bright yellow to wool with alum and cream of tartar. They are best harvested in late spring into early fall, but pay attention to the cycle of fruit harvest. Pick leaves sparingly from each tree so that the fruit trees can continue to gather energy for next years fruit crop through its leaves. Fresh prunings are an ideal source for leaves.
The leaves are to be gathered fresh and used immediately. If the leaves must be harvested the day before dyeing then cover the fresh leaves in cold water to help preserve them (Luisa Gelenter, LaLana Wools 2009). A general rule when gathering fresh material to dye with is to gather twice the amount of plant material to the weight of the material to be dyed, 2 parts fresh plant material : 1 part fiber.
Bring peach leaves to a boil and hold at a simmer for 1-2 hours. Extract leaves from dye bath and compost spent peach leaves. Proceed with the dye bath according to the type of fiber being dyed.
peach leaves being extracted from dyepot
Lalana Wools, Gathering Flowers of the Field Workshop, 2009
handspun wool yarns, peach leaves, 2009
Keep records of your experiments, including such information as when and where the leaves were collected, what material you dyed and the mordanting process.