Lavender can be a beautiful addition to any herb garden, not only does it smell wonderful, it also has many uses. Lavandula angustifolia is the proper name for this perennial herb that is noted for its gray foliage and purple flower heads. Most varieties of lavender will grow 2 to 3 feet tall.
Lavender plants love direct sun and well drained soil. You can also grow lavender in containers as well. Lavender plants can be lightly pruned a few times during the growing season up until the first week of September. Allow the plants to rest and put on new growth after labor day, so they’ll be mature before cold weather arrives. You’ll need to replace the plants in about 4 years, or you can do as many gardeners do, add several new lavender plants yearly. This way you’ll always have young and maturing plants at different stages of growth.
To harvest lavender for drying, it is best to choose stems that only have two or three opened flowers buds, the rest will open during the drying process. Group the lavender in small bunches and tie them togther with string, ribbon or twine. Hang the branches upside down in a warm, dark place for about ten days, or until dry. A small fan placed in the room will speed up the drying process and provide good air circulation.
My favorite lavender potpourri recipe:
1 cup of lavender buds
2 tablespoons of dried patchouli leaves
15 whole cloves
2 cups of dried red rose petals
1 cup of dried pink rose petals
3 tablespoons of dried rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons of dried spearmint leaves
1 cinnamon stick
8 drops of lavender oil
Combine all ingredients in a large ziploc plastic bag. Close the bag, and shake gently. Allow the mixture to cure for at least three weeks. Shake twice a week to combine the scents. When the potpourri is finished curing, layer it evenly in a pretty glass container or in a jar with a top or lid. You can also place the potpourri in a woven basket, copper or glass bowl. To refresh the scent, stir gently once a week.
~ Meadow Walker