Monday, June 28, 2010

Harvesting lavender and making sachets - DIY a la mode

Lavender harvest, originally uploaded by alamodestuff.

I harvested my first batch of lavender this year.  Lavender is a perennial that actually benefits from being cut in addition to being pruned after blooming.  As an accidental gardener, I began harvesting lavender because I have a row of them that likes to overtake a walkway.  I have to cut the plants back often and absolutely hated disposing of the fragrant blossoms.  Thus, my sachets were born.

[Did I ever mention that I don't have a green thumb.  This said, my ability to keep these plants year after year means that they are super easy to grow and manage.]

I do not claim to know what I'm doing, but for the past several years my harvesting technique has worked.  The first thing I do just after the flowers bloom, is cut the stems.  I tie them in bundles and then hang them to dry. 

[This year, I didn't even tie them.  I simply left them to dry in a pile as pictured above.]

After about a week or so, they will easily shake off the stem.  You can put them in a pillow case or paper bag and gently shake them off their stems.  I simply pull them off into a bowl because I love the smell on my hands.

Harvested lavender

[I do not spray anything other than water on my plants:  no fertilizers, chemicals, plant food, etc.]

I make sachets from my bounty, like this one I made last year.  Even after a year, with a gentle squeeze, the sachet's fragrance is renewed and has lasted this long.

Lavender has a very soothing quality.  It is said that if you sleep with a sachet under your pillow, you will have a more restful sleep.  Of course, throwing them in a drawer, closet, or simply hanging one nearby adds a wonderful aroma.


Did you know that you can also use them in your dryer?  Trader Joe's sells reusable packs for your laundry.  You can easily make your own with lightweight muslin or cheesecloth squares. 

What else can you do with dried lavender?

- sleep masks
- travel pillows
- throw and vacuum to add scent to your room/vacuum
- leave in a bowl as potpourri

I will be making several sachets.  Do you want one?  I'll send one to the first three individuals who respond in the comments below.

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