The tiny lavender harvest

Lav bunches compressed

The first harvest from my new lavender patch is complete….5 bunches, but don’t they look nice hanging in my shed?  And 5 little bunches will provide enough lavender for a few pots of tea and several batches of lavender-walnut scones this winter, which makes me happy. The harvest didn’t take long.  After fifteen years with 7,000 lavender plants that took weeks to harvest manually, this was a snap, since there are only 47 baby plants.  Fifty were planted last autumn, and I truly didn’t expect any of them to survive since I did no soil preparation, and the site is not ideal (heavy clay, run-off from the neighbor’s field, a north slope that holds the snow longer than any other spot on the property.)  I just needed a place to stick them and behold, there was the bare, bull-dozed slope next to the new potager, so in they went!

Lav field with cloth compressed

Imagine my surprise this spring, when 49 plants began to show growth.  They not only survived, but they actually seem happy!  So, instead of moving them, I weeded the patch, put down landscape cloth, and watched them grow.  Most of the plants are “Abrialli,” my favorite for their wonderful fragrance, long stems and good color, which I reserved for myself,  but there are a few  “Sleeping Beauty,” “Victorian Amethyst,” “Imperial Gem,” “Violet Intrigue,” and one “Dwarf White” which were unsold when we closed the farm and I couldn’t bare to toss them, so in they went.

Lav first bunch compressed  I just cut them with heavy-duty scissors, shaping the plant into a mound as I go.  Harvest begins when the bees start working the flowers.

Lav bunch with bee compressed  If you look carefully at the center top of the bunch, you’ll see a bee that could not be deterred from her task.

Lav patch harvested compressed It doesn’t look very attractive without the flowers.  In fact, it’s actually ugly.  The plan is to add a layer of stone to cover the landscape cloth, and I’ve planted a few perennials and a small shrub island to help screen it from the house and driveway.

Lav patch screen compressed  I’m not sure at this point it is helping the beautification effort, but hopefully it will be lovely eventually.  For those of you detail-obsessed folks, there are only 47 plants left because two at the far end were actually washed out of the ground by a heavy rain before the landscape cloth went down, and I was too slow to notice and get them back in the ground.  Sigh.  And, yes, I’ve used leftover bits of three different landscape fabrics, but once they are covered in stone it won’t matter.  When I look at it now, I see future summers, when the fragrance of the lavender will be carried into the potager, and hopefully, with the help of westerly breezes onto the deck at the house.

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About carolee

A former professional herb and lavender grower, now just growing for joy in my new potager. When I'm not in the garden, I'm in the kitchen, writing, or traveling to great gardens.
This entry was posted in gardening, harvest, lavender, Potager, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The tiny lavender harvest

  1. Robin E. says:

    This gives me hope! And some ideas. I only figured out how to keep lavender alive a couple of years ago. [I’m in Greene County.] My favorite is Impress Purple, but I need to try yours. I’ve got some established plants and some starts. I also have some scrap landscape cloth and it’s going down as soon as the weather cools down some. My husband has dreams of a long row or two of lavender behind my studio just up a hill from my veg garden. it would be an ideal place for us to move my beehives.

    Like

    • Carolee says:

      I grew Impress Purple, but wasn’t impressed, but your bees would definitely love any lavender you can grow. Before I developed an allergy to them, I was a beekeeper, and they loved the lavender field. I’ve never used landscape cloth with lavender before, so this is a trial effort. Will keep you posted on its success, if there is success!

      Like

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