Thursday, June 29, 2017

It's funny how, once a topic crops up, it often reoccurs. My most recent example was in discussing tags with customers. My advice is, "Don't believe everything you read on a tag." Overall, they can be helpful, but they are written in general terms. It may say perennial, but when you read closely, it's only perennial to zone 7 ( we're zone 6.) Some perennial tags say "blooms all summer." Perennials have a season of bloom and a month is a long bloom time for perennials. It's actually annuals that boom all summer, in many cases.

A customer complimented us on the hydrangeas blooming in front of our house. She asked what I did to produce such a result. I replied, "Absolutely nothing!" A combination of the mild winter and wet spring produced a floriferous display.

Now that we're into summer, I'm harvesting regularly from the gardens. It's still mostly perennial culinary herbs like mints, tarragon, savory, sage, oregano, etc. at this point. I'm also picking flowers to dry as they bloom. Beautiful yellow yarrow is very productive and dries well.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Before these recent hot temperatures, I really enjoyed the week of pleasant spring weather. Luckily, it coincided with the first lavender harvest. I harvest and dry for bunching and make woven lavender hearts and wands, all of which we sell in the shop.

Lavender flowers should be harvested in bud, before the small, individual florets open. Many florets will drop, if cut when they're open, resulting in the loss of a lot of fragrance. The dark purple variety is Hidcote and is at its prime for harvesting.

The lavender variety is Munstead. Many of its florets have opened, so it is past its prime. However, this is the stage when the bees are anxious to work it. I let it go as long as the bees are interested, and cut off the spent flower stems when they are done with the flowers

After flowering is also the time to shape your plants. As long as there is new foliage at the base, I'll cut it back hard and remove the lanky or spindly stems.