Creating a Garden of Natural Dye Plants Part 1

Creating a Garden of Natural Dye Plants - Part 1
Michel Garcia

Michel Garcia joined us from France. He is the founder of Couleur Garance and of the Botanical Garden of Dye Plants. Set in the Château de Lauris, terraced and adorned with ponds and fountains dating from the eighteenth century, the conservatory garden holds a collection of more than 350 natural dye plants.

The garden was established to be a horticultural resource for botanists, chemists, natural dye researchers, and artisans. Michel Garcia’s work has been pivotal for understanding the history of dyes and showcasing contemporary alternatives for manufacturing colour in ecologically sound and sustainable ways. His projects have been instrumental in revitalizing the conversation about dyes both in France and internationally.

Join Michel Garcia as he leads us on a walk through the garden of natural dye plants, explaining the motivation and origins of this project, how it has evolved, new challenges faced, and what the future holds.


A French national born in Morocco, Michel Garcia was nineteen when he first discovered natural dyes. Since then he has followed his love of both plants and pigments. In 1998 he formed the association Couleur Garance (Madder Colour). The association hoped to connect young ecologically sensitive artisans with the substantial expertise of an older generation of dyers. Under his direction, Couleur Garance produced over twenty monographs on natural dyes and dye plants.

In 2002 Michel founded the Botanical Garden of Dye Plants at the Château de Lauris. In 2003 an international forum and market for natural dyes was added. A year later a resource centre was established.

In 2006 Michel handed over leadership of Couleur Garance so that he could further pursue his interest in colour and dye techniques. He has published three titles on natural dyes showing the range of shades available and how to obtain them.


  • De la garance au pastel, le jardin des teinturiers
  • Couleurs végétales: Teintures, pigments et encres
  • Plantes colorantes, teintures végétales 

Listen in iTunes