Cut and Dried
The sky is aglow with early morning pink as I take my time wandering along the rows of blooming lavender. Facing the rising sun, I sit low on the ground and take in the colors of the flowers set against the rosy light. It’s a moment of quiet perfection in what is going to be a busy day in the field.

There is no doubt that spending time in the lavender fields is a true pleasure, and being able to evoke the memory of those moments with the color and scent of the flowers long after the harvest is done is a wonderful reason to pick a bundle of lavender to dry and enjoy for months and years to come.

Picking lavender stem by stem or as a handful or two and creating a pretty bouquet is easy, but care needs to be taken so the plant will stay healthy. It takes some time, but part of the lure of lavender is spending time smelling it, touching it, and creating a beautiful memory, so don’t rush the process!

Lavender is ready to be picked when the flowers are beginning to open. You need no special equipment beyond a sharp scissors or small, sharp sickle, and rubber bands or twine. Rubber bands work the best as they will hold the stems even as they shrink and dry. Pick the lavender when the dew has dried, and don’t pick when it’s raining - wet stems can get moldy.

Gently grasping a stem or a handful, cut the lavender at just above the lower two sets of leaves. Gather the stems into a pretty bouquet and secure them with the rubber band, then hang upside down in a dark, well-ventilated space for two to three weeks to dry. Drying the lavender out of direct light will help
keep the colors vibrant, and ventilation will keep the lavender from getting moldy.

When it’s dry, this pretty bouquet will last for several years, especially if it’s displayed out of direct sunlight. Avoid putting it in the bathroom, as the damp will cause it to mold.
If the dried lavender is the English variety, you can also strip the dried buds from the stems and use them in your cookies. If the lavender is aromatic, strip the buds and put them in a pretty sachet for
decades of lavender scented linens.
Ann Marie Craig

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