Lavender is deeply soothing, and tremendously functional stuff — not some frilly floral this! Lavender protects against wool moths and many other pests when used in sachets and potpourris in the house. Its properties are profoundly calming, so I make a room spray of its essential oils to gentle down my children when they cannot sleep, and rub it on my own wrists as a sleep remedy. In the garden, it conjures up the pathways of old gardens, with such quiet beauty in subdued greens, greys, and those hot bits of colour. Neither deer nor rabbits will touch the stuff, making it an excellent plant to line our front garden with. Preserving it for practical uses around the house takes very little trouble.
Ideally, as in, hopefully next year, cut the flowers to dry them when they are just about to bloom. If you’ve missed this moment, as those of us who were busy putting a garden in in late summer (but caught lavender plants finishing, and on sale) there’s still great possibility. Lavender likes to be cut back hard in late summer, early autumn, taking off several inches of foliage along with the finished flower. Pruning lavender smells so glorious, I’m quite fond of it.
Hang the flowers upside-down in a dim, dry place, til it is thoroughly dried out. Snapping dry. I’ve a design for a herb-drying rack in my head, another hopeful for drying lavender and other good things next year.
I had so much lavender foliage, I pulled out my oven racks and leaned them up on a support, and laid it all out on that. After a few days in a dark corner it was all quite dry. I’ll be pulling off the green and using it in sachets in my little studio shop, and tossing anything else in baskets round the house. Oil infusions are another gorgeous possibility.
p>Oh – do sign up for the postcards to hear when I’ll have open studio & shop days, drop-in crafting nights by the fire, and traditional workshops in the studio.