Sorry to have disappeared for a little while. I went away on vacation and when I returned, I noticed that I got back just in time to harvest my lavender plant! I love having my own lavender to dry and use for beauty/crafting projects. One established plant yields enough to last throughout the year and there are so many fun things you can make.
If you wish to plant your own lavender, be sure to research online or check with your local nursery to find out which variety will work best in your climate and also which variety is best for drying. I was lucky to have this well-established plant here, already thriving, before I moved in.
The perfect time for harvesting your lavender is when you notice the plant in partial bloom. You want to look for nice fat bulging buds and only a few open flowers. Harvesting before the plants are fully flowered helps the buds roll off the plant easily after it is has dried so you can better use them for crafting projects.
The best harvest time is in the morning after the dew dries. I just use whatever sharp scissors I have lying around that look like they can do the job, grab the lavender in small bunches and snip. I try to leave about 1/3 of the stem on the plant for regrowth but cutting enough for a nice long stem on the lavender (about 8-12 inches worth).
I like to do all my cutting at once, carefully laying the stems in neat piles.
Here is the whole plant after the harvest. There is still about 1/3 of the stem left and it still looks nice and healthy for regrowth. Some varieties bloom again during the season.
Once I have finished all of my cutting, I gather the lavender and bring it inside to prepare it for drying.
If you are good with a camera (unlike me), this is an excellent opportunity to get some fantastic pictures of bees doing what they do best! I get mesmerized watching them working and often feel a little sad taking it away from them so I leave a little behind.
Make sure your lavender is free of bees and other critters before moving inside.
This is the time consuming part so get yourself some relaxing music or a good podcast and zone out. Maybe you have some kids who might want to pitch in.
I like to group together stems of a similar size. I tended to have two different sizes.
Once you have a nice handful of stalks, gather them together and put a rubber band on the end.
Once you have placed your rubber band, you can attach a paper clip or safety pin to hang your lavender. You will need a cool dark place to hang the bundles upside down to let them dry.
Almost finished, you can see that one plant yields quite a few bundles. I forgot to mention, your house will smell like a delicious spa! Aren't they gorgeous?
Look at this big ole pile of stems left over. I threw them out but after some researching, discovered that they can be soaked to make lavender infused oil. Next time!
Hang them in a cool dark place to dry. I always put them in our garage. Not only is it cool and dark but I love having something pretty to look at on my way in. Here in Colorado it is so dry that it just takes a few of these hot summer days for it to dry but in more humid climates it can take 2 weeks. I have also read that these should be spaced so that they are not touching to allow for better drying (especially if you are in a wet climate).
When they are completely dry there are so many things you can do/make with these! If you look on pinterest or research online you will find recipes/tutorials galore!!!! There are wonderful beauty products you can make, home decor items, and culinary uses (If you are using it for culinary purposes, make sure your lavender had not been treated with any chemicals or pesticides). Stay tuned for the next post so we can make a few things together! If you can't grow your own lavender, have no fear! In a short hot minute you can easily find and order the dried lavender online. It really is a nice thing to have around so you can put together a quick elegant gift in a pinch! They even look great just as they are, tied to the top of a card or gift!
Go check your yard, you just might have some you didn't even realize you could use! That's actually how I discovered mine in the last house I lived in.
Hope to see you next time to try out some fun lavender projects!