While taking Penny to a doctor’s appointment last week, we pasted an arborist pruning some eucalyptus trees.  I said, “Hey! Eucalyptus is supposed to make a wonderful dye!”  After Penny stopped laughing, she told me that I should go back and get some.  (As if there was any doubt!)

After I dropped Penny off, I returned to the arborist and salvaged some branches before they were fed to the chipper.  He must have thought I was crazy.  I filled the back of the station wagon with the branches, but ran out of steam to deal with them that day.  So, the branches stayed in the wagon until the next day.  It’s been a week since I’ve removed the branches, but my car still smells like eucalyptus.  The real stuff.  Not that scent they put in stuff that’s supposed to help you breathe easier or the stuff in the natural cat/dog flea collars (which don’t work all that well, by the way).

As you can see, there are 2 different species here: one with green elliptical leaves and one with silvery round leaves.  The round leaf variety also had some berries on them.  Next step is to strip the leaves off.  I left them on the patio table to dry a bit so that they would be easier to strip.  Didn’t work.  I had to strip the leaves one by one off with my clippers.  I can only do about 60-90 minutes a day before my shoulder started screaming.  So, a week later, they look like this:

I finally finished defoliating the branches yesterday.  Just in time to get the bare branches out to curbside recycling today.

I kept the 2 different species separate because I’m interested in what colors each would generate.  I was also curious as to whether the berries would provide dye material.  Okay, I know they would, but I wasn’t sure what the color might be, and I didn’t want it to contaminate the color produced by the leaves alone, so I kept them separated.

Next up, macerate the leaves a bit and soak it overnight.