Harvesting and using lavender
Growing lavender can be very rewarding. In the springtime you can watch the hummingbirds inspecting the gorgeous purple flowers, and enjoy the wonderful fragrances wafting through the garden with every breeze. Later, you can harvest and preserve those blossoms and use them in many different projects.
In my garden (Zone 10), I grow several different lavenders and I am lucky enough to have two harvests a year. I have one in the late spring and one in the fall. When I harvest, I cut the long lavender stems and bind them into bundles using rubber bands. Then I hang those fragrant bundles in the garage to dry. After a few weeks, I hold the bundles over a big pan and rub the dry flower heads until all of the sweet flowers fall off into the pan.
I store the dry flower blossoms in an airtight jar. But I don’t throw out those fragrant, dry stems! I keep them bundled and save them until winter. Then, on those cold winter nights when I have a roaring fire in the fireplace, I toss a bundle in and get a mild lavender fragrance. The dry bundles also work as fire starters. If you have any left during the warmer months, you can even toss them into the BBQ to give lavender smoke flavor to grilled veggies.
Seriously! Nothing goes to waste!
I use the dried lavender blossoms in various fragrant crafts. One of my favorites is a floral dryer sachet. You basically make up a simple potpourri with dried lavender (but really any dried sweet herb will work) and place it into small cotton drawstring tea bags (available at health food stores). Then you toss one sachet into a dryer load of laundry and everything will be scented with the wonderful fragrance of lavender. I especially like to use it with bed sheets or towels.
Give it a try!
Floral Dryer Sachets
1 ½ cups dried lavender blossoms
4 drops lavender essential oil
8 small cotton drawstring tea bags
In a small bowl, combine lavender and essential oil. Mix well. Place 2T of scented herbs into each tea bag. Tie strings into a knot tightly. Store bags in a sealed jar until ready to use. They can be used with several dryer loads before being emptied into the compost pile.