Friday, July 1, 2011

Lavender in May

This entry, as well as the next was intended to be published in May and although Kathy sent it to me then, I have been lax in getting them posted!

Lovely, lovely lavender! Although lavender's spring season has been creeping into May. with our slow start to spring this year, I figured it would be June this year. So I've been happily bunching and crafting. One day I made lavender hearts which I like as tree ornaments or package toppers at the holidays. Today, I started on weaving wands. It's just simple over and under weaving, but each one is slightly different due to the difference in individual stems. And it's always fragrant - however you are using it. I like the very dark purple flowers for dried bunches - pretty and fragrant and the lighter colors for the wands since the flowers are enclosed by ribbon.

Remember to pick lavender in the bud before the little blooms open. The opened flowers often fall off when dried, so you lose aroma. Stems on the plants that I haven't harvested I let go because the bees love it. When they're done with it, cut off the spent stems to prevent seeding and encourage rebloom. After spring blooming is the best time to trim plants in order to shape them.

Happy to report I'm seeing quite a few honeybees since the weather warmed up. Outside, they're very busy with thyme flowers as they bloom. In the greenhouse, they're all over the profusion zinnias. When I'm watering those plants, they move away impatiently, but hover nearby and come back as soon as I move on to another flat.

A customer asked about winter-hardy rosemary recently and asked if it was guaranteed to be hardy. It reminded me of an herbal scam - claiming zone 7 plants will be hardy in zone 6. Several varieties claim to be more winter-hardy, but I believe and will always tell people that I think the deciding factor is the severity of the winter. Lots of types survive a mild winter, not many at all a tough winter like the past one.
No guarantees!

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