The heat of the last days pushed the lavender quickly, and lavender harvest has begun! We cut the longest stems for the dried bouquets, harvesting them just as the bees inform us two or three of the calyxes are open. This way the dried bouquets do not “shatter” or lose too many flowers.
This year our only dried bouquets come from Lot Sophia, the recently replanted lavender field near the vines. Young plants have the longest stems. We have been replanting Sophia for three years now, the last six rows replanted this spring. Although we use only plants propagated from our own plant material by Cottage Gardens, a certified organic nursery, our Biodynamic certifier, Demeter, requires that the plants be in the ground and managed biodynamically for a year before they can be called certified Biodynamic. The most recently replanted will be pruned only.
We dry our lavender in bunches of about 100 stems upside down in a dark and vented shed. It takes about three weeks before the bunches are ready to be cleaned of any bindweed, packed into cardboard boxes, and stored until we make them into bouquets or strip the stems for loose flowers.
Harvest reminds us of completion of a process, tying us into the cycle of a plant and of life. With lavender, the plant is pruned down yet again into its mound until next year. We always leave some flowers for the bees and other native pollinators, and we are always blessed with the volatile scents as we work.