Lavender harvest

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In Croatia, June is usually a Lavender harvest month. In the coastal parts lavender flowers sooner, and in northwestern Croatia we harvest it around the end of June. The lavender isn’t very popular here due to the popular opinion that the lavender can’t survive in the cold, but actually, some varieties grow excellent even in cold and can be grown in harsh winter conditions.

Warmth, sun, and no watering is a perfect combination

Lavender likes hot and sunny areas, but they can survive in colder areas, provided that the soil is not too wet. The humidity will kill the roots much faster than the frost will. The lavender prefers well-drained soil and doesn’t mind being without water for a longer period. It is perfect for slope and rock gardens.

Once you choose the right spot you can forget about it until the harvest time. Lavender doesn’t need any fertilizers or fresh compost. It grows the best in a poor rocky environment. Give your lavender lots of sun and enough room, and it will thrive.

Old lavender bushes

My garden is home to two lavender bushes. These bushes have been here for over 20 years. The old bushes are huge. Their woody bits are now giant, and it has more and more branches every year. I refuse to cut my bushes, so they look a bit messy and weird. I only cut the parts that dry and die off. The rest of the plant grows freely.

The reason why I don’t cut my lavender is bugs and insects. They love my lavender and every year there are hundreds of them flying around the bushes. I even leave the flowers longer than I should, so that they could get as much pollen as they can. Butterflies and bumblebees are especially fond of lavender flowers. Although I’ve seen occasionally some bees on the plant, bumblebees are here the whole day long, and even refuse to leave when I harvest them. Bumblebees will stay on the lavender flowers until you take them indoors.

Lavender harvest

This week was finally the time to harvest my two bushes. The best time to harvest the lavender bushes is in the early morning after the dew dries. Usually, it is best to harvest the lavender while most of the buds are still closed, but as I said I leave my flowers to the insects and harvest when the lavender is almost done. The almost done flowers are still great and can be used normally. The only difference is that while drying the flowers can fall off more easily. I don’t care about this, I just collect the fallen flowers each time I clean and that’s it. Once the plant dries it will act the same as the flowers that were harvested earlier.

The size of my lavender always brings a big harvest and it always takes me hours to harvest, sort, and prepare everything for storing. Luckily this year I have an outside table on my terrace where I had the chance to spread the lavender all around the terrace without messing up the entire kitchen.

Bouquets, wreaths, and bundles

I don’t do anything special with my lavender, sure there are many different uses for the flowers, but I prefer to use my lavender to perfume the house. I’ve made 8 different size bouquets for different corners and tables in the house, a shower bundle, and a door wreath. When making bouquets and wreaths there is a lot of leftover stems which I’ve cut all to the same size and I will use them as fire starters in the winter.

I hung the shower bundle above the shower pipe. The shower bundle is usually made with lavender and eucalyptus, but I don’t have any eucalyptus at home, so I’ve used herbs that were available to me: Lavender, immortelle, rosemary, and Indian mint. It still smells delicious, especially during a hot shower.

I didn’t throw the small flowers. I’ve cut them into small bits, together with the leaves and stems, and left them to dry. I will place them in small bags and place them inside the wardrobe. I don’t have a problem with moths, so the content of the bag is not important. the stems and leaves will give enough scent in a small space.

Since we try not to throw anything away, I’ve also collected all the fallen flowers and placed them into a small paper bag to dry, I’ll use them in for cooking and baking.

Time to take cuttings

The lavender season for my two big bushes ends here. I will try and take some cuttings from the bushes and get more plants, during the last 10 years only two cutting batches were successful and gave new plants. Since I’ve given all of those plants to family and neighbors I need to take more cuttings, who knows maybe this year will be a successful one and soon I’ll have more huge bushes in the garden.

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