Two of my favourite plants from the dye garden are dyer’s coreopsis and sulphur cosmos. They are both rewarding, cheerful and basically undemanding plants that yield warm honey and a rare clear orange colour during dyeing. The dry coreopsis flowers can be infused to make a summer-flavoured tea and the cosmos flowers buzz with bees and butterflies at the height of summer (watch out for this during the flower harvest!).
The two varieties tend to blossom at the same time and because the dyer’s coreopsis is lower in height, you can plant them in rows or patches in front of each other. It’s worth leaving plenty of space beause both tend to grow bushy. Due to the height of the cosmos pick a wind-shielded spot for these. In mid-summer at the height of flowering the blossoms have to be picked every 1-2 days; they are easy to dry in an airy place and can be stored for the less bountiful months. By regular picking you will also stimulate the plants to grow even more flowers. Coreopsis has an interesting property: even if you pick the flowers when they are just buds, they will fully open at room temperature. In drought both varieties will appreciate watering but by applying plenty of straw mulch this can be alleviated drastically.