Shade jobs

The Lavandins are in full bloom!

It’s hot! Even for me, so I’ve resorted to looking for jobs that can be done in the shade in mid-afternoon. The lavandins are blooming, and there was a sack of leftover ribbon from wand-making classes we used to hold on Lavender Days at my herb farm. So, armed with scissors and a stool, I ventured onto the “more than warm” stones of the Lavender Slope to do some harvesting.

Lavandins are a cross, L. x intermedia. The most widely-known one is probably “Grosso.” They have much longer stems than L. angustifolia (generally known as English lavender) and bloom slightly later. Their chemical make-up is also different, not as sweet or soothing, but still a very pleasant “lavender” scent over-all. My favorite for making really big, long wands was “Super,” but unfortunately I didn’t have any plants to bring home when we wold the farm. But, I do have “Abrialli” and “Grosso” so there was plenty of material to work with. Taking my small harvest to the shade of the Lady Cottage, I began folding stems and weaving the first wand. It took a while to remember how to do it, after all it’s been five years. The second one went a little faster, but I was already getting a bit fidgety. Sitting still is not one of my talents. To make it more challenging and interesting, I used two colors of ribbon on wand #3, and it also helped use up short lengths of ribbon so I could toss some empty bolts.

Four wands…my output for the 2020 season!

By wand #4, I’d decided that my need for a shade job was not THAT crucial. I was definitely recalling why I let my two more talented employees make all the wands we sold at the shop and on-line. They loved doing it; I didn’t. I called them and invited them to come pick all they wanted, along with the ribbon bag. One came yet that afternoon and sheared several plants! I retreated to the shade of the Cottage…and braided onions! Not as lovely a fragrance by any measure, but also not nearly as demanding in terms of concentration or patience, and a much speedier reward.


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.
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7 Responses to Shade jobs

  1. Jo Shafer says:

    I never learned to make braided lavender wands but I did see several for sale in the Farmers’ Markets a few years back. During the heat spells, the only time I enjoy being outside is on early mornings, either on my courtyard for Morning Prayer or pottering in the herb garden (now turned potager with a few vegetables added). The gardens are in shade the first couple of hours, the grass still wet with dew, birds flocking to the hanging gazebo-shape feeder. June here was particularly lovely this year. Now, in mid-July, the heat builds all afternoon and I hibernate inside with a book.

    Liked by 2 people

    • carolee says:

      I have been having trouble concentrating enough for reading. But, I’m thinking I should set up my easel in the Cottage & just play while it’s this hot. Maybe some rain on the way this coming week…we hope!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Several years too late (for the sake of my skin), I have finally succumbed to wearing a big gardening hat and being more faithful in wearing sunscreen. Most definitely should have done it sooner. I do try to follow the shade as much as possible when I’m gardening, but must admit to wimping out on gardening in our latest string of hot weather.

    Thanks for your post. I always learn so much from you posts. I have never been successful in growing lavender. Perhaps I should search some of your lavender posts, read up and try again.

    Have a blessed Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carolee says:

      Never wore a hat, etc. in my youth, when becoming brown as a bean was considered fashionable. Now, I always wear a big hat made of sun-protective material. Definitely not fashionable, but wise. I should wear long-sleeves, but I don’t. I am careful to slowly expose my skin to longer outdoor periods so I never sun-burn…rather like hardening off plants!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Going Batty in Wales says:

    I have never made wands though they look lovely. I have tried many times to grow lavender, which I love, here but to no avail and I have given up trying. I can buy dried lavender flowers from a local health food shop so make lavender sachets with those.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Valonia says:

    It was lovely to read this after spending a morning making wands myself. I love the little similarities in life that connect people so far away. I can’t quite imagine the heat you get there though – I struggle with English summers being too hot!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I enjoyed reading this as I managed to make 4 wands this year, too. And as we speak, my onions are curing in the studio nearby my desk, with that very distinctive ‘curing onions’ smell permeating everything. The smells of July.

    Liked by 2 people

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