Last year I planted little lavender plants all across the front of the house. I just love to breath in the smell of lavender as I walk by the flower beds and I think it's a lovely greeting for people coming to our home. The plants are thriving and lush with purple flowers so I decided it was time for my first harvest.
This was a challenge for two reasons: bees and a mamma duck.
The bees absolutely LOVE the lavender and the tall hollyhocks behind them. They are buzzing and flying about everywhere. I was nervous but just decided to calmly sit down amongst them and hope for the best. It was really amazing, actually. They flew around me but left me be. I think they must sense anxiety and the possibility of harm and the opposite - calm and no desire to hurt them. A couple times I cut off a stem with a bee on it and it just came right with the flower into my pile then eventually flew away.
The second issue is our mamma duck, who has made her nest in the flower bed. Who knows why but she chose this spot, in the front of the house, to lay her eggs. Now she has become very territorial and protective. When you approach, she starts hissing and puffing herself up. I decided she was riskier than the bees and I didn't even attempt to harvest from the plant directly in front of her.
I used my clippers and cut stems until I had a nicely sized bunch then wrapped the ends in string. I cut about 15 bunches then brought them inside to my laundry room - checking to be sure I wasn't bringing any of those bees in with me!
I read that lavender needs to be hung upside down to dry and that as it dries the blossoms become brittle and may begin to drop off. Several people suggested the method I decided to go with - encasing the bunches in brown paper bags then hanging them. The paper is breathable and it catches any petals that may fall off as the lavender dries.
The clothes drying rack has been re-purposed for now to hold my flowers. I can't wait to crack the bags open and shake off the dried petals. I've been saving all kinds of lavender recipes to try with my harvest...
I'll post again when it's time for the next step.
What's your favorite thing to make with dried or fresh lavender?