Lavender harvest & How to take cuttings
If you have lavender in your garden, even the smallest plant, you’ll know that the bees love it. The honey bees, the bumbles and all types of pollinators- they just can’t get enough of it. If you go out into our garden in the evening at this time of year the lavender is covered in bees all buzzing about having their supper, it’s quite a sight.
So it might seem a little mean to harvest it, but I will leave some for them and in any case I don’t take it all at once. I wait till the flowers are fully out but not spent and pick a day that’s not too hot (not difficult!) and not rainy (a little trickier). I tie the flowers in small bunches and hang them upside down for a while until they are dry. They do look fabulous like this but unfortunately as I am trying to preserve them I do cover most of them with bags whilst hanging so it’s not the pretty sight you are probably imagining! Stripping the stalks is a relaxed task not least because it releases such a gorgeous fresh scent.
The buds can be used for all sorts of things, good old fashioned lavender-bags, bath salts or to make your own essential oils. The dried stalks look lovely in flower arrangements and will last for months and months with careful handling. Lavender is also a lovely plant to use fresh whilst it’s in season though- it’s good steeped in hot water as a tea (literally stick a stalk or two in), and it also makes a lovely crème caramel- so in my house the bees have to share.
How to create more Lavender plants from cuttings: It’s easy enough to grow lavender and it doesn’t need any special care. If you don’t have any see if you can get a cutting from a neighbour- it’s pretty easy to grow from cuttings, we’ve made loads of new ones from old. This way you also know that the plant you are creating will be happy in your soil type and thrive in the area of the country where you live. Simply take a straight 5cm piece from a part of the plant that’s healthy, bright green and leafy (not a flower), cut it with sharp scissors strip the leaves off the bottom half and pop it in a pot with some gritty compost. We usually put 3 cuttings in each 10cm pot. Mist the leaves regularly (they won’t have established roots for quite a while) or put a plastic bag over the top with an elastic band around it. Leave in a warm place but not direct sunshine. Take the bag off after 3 weeks. Pot on when you see lots of new growth. Now is a good time to do this but remember to keep your baby plants out of the frost over winter. It’s a great way to make new plants and keep the bees happy. Let me know how you get on! Good Luck!