Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lavender -- Open Season

It just never seems to stop around here. Just as I think I can sit back and enjoy the gardens because everything is finally in the ground, the lavender begins to bloom and bloom and bloom. I've been cutting Lavandula Angustifolias (english lavenders) now for a week. The pink 'Melissa' is almost all down as well as many purple varieties like 'Sara', 'Munstead', 'Hidcote Blue'--not 'Hidcote Superior'--the real 'Hidcote Blue'. 'Jennifer', 'Baby Blue' and 'Martha Roderick' have all been harvested and are now hanging in the basement to dry. A new favorite of mine is a small yet beautiful lavandula with a wonderful mounding habit, 'Thumbelina Leigh' has finished blooming as well and I plan to make cuttings of that soon.

The honey bees are buzzing everywhere and we don't seem to mind each other as they and I go on about our perspective chores in the lavender beds. Lots of rain this year has helped to produce a large crop from over 400 lavender plants. It's going to be a very busy next couple of weeks. I still have much more of the angustifolias to harvest before the Lavandula Intermedias (hybrids crossed between angustifolias and latifolias and much bigger plants, generally, than the english lavenders) and other varieties are ready which will be here sooner than I think.

Stay with me now, and I'll try to do better and show you more harvesting as we go. It's not hard to cut lavender but it is time consuming and, as far as I know, is always done by hand, even at the big commercial lavender farms around the world. So, cutting lavender can be a daunting task, but rewarding as well when all is said and done and the final product is dried and ready for use in crafts and potpourries.

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