We have 5 rows of lavender planted on the east side of the garden and for the month of June it’s a place of beauty, a favorite hangout for the bees, and a perfumery for the entire garden- especially if it’s humid! We planted each row (varieties are: Melisa, Folgate, Royal Velvet, Grosso, and Hidcote) soon after we moved and they all grew beautifully! Unfortunately, lavender was a learning curve for me and I did manage to incorrectly trim the Grosso so it got much too woody and we tore most of it out last year. We will replant! I think, after all of these years, I’ve finally gotten the hang of it even though my lavender doesn’t always look like the perfectly trimmed balls you might see at a lavender farm.
Melissa, a pink/white lavender, has fared the best in that it has been healthy and beautifully formed year after year. I love it, but it’s not what most people think of or want in a dried lavender bundle. We use it for a lot of culinary purposes as it’s well known for that.
This year, we harvested about half of the lavender to dry and left the rest on the plant to fully open for the bees to enjoy a bit longer.
We often sell bundles of fresh lavender but this year there wasn’t a ton of interest (my fault, my strength is not in advertising) so we are drying much of it in the sugar shack.
I really love using lavender for culinary purposes. I’ve made cocktails, lemonade, baked goods, savory dishes and lots and lots of jams! What is really nice about using lavender is that it doesn’t all have to be done in one full sweep. Because lavender dries so well, and retains its oils, lavender can be used throughout the year to cook with!
My favorite new dish this year was a blueberry lavender mess (pictured above). I’ve also worked on finding my favorite peach lavender jam. I tried it with the lavender buds in the actual jam and simply steeped in the jam. My favorite taste was probably with the buds in the jam, but they didn’t look so great in the jar and I’ve found that a lot of people don’t love the buds in their food.
We make a lot of cocktails, lemonades and lattes with Lavender Simple Syrup. We find it keeps for a long time in the fridge but since you can use dried buds, it’s easy to make any time! I also use a bit of lavender in my garden salt mix and I love how it adds just a little something.
This year, Grace was on a mission to make the best lavender honey ice cream using honey from our bees and our lavender! She made two different recipes and we spent some time comparing and contrasting (it’s a rough life here!) and we still are having a hard time determining our favorite. They were both so good (she wrote about it some in her monthly newsletter if you are interested in more details).
I’ve now trimmed all of our lavender (we use a lot of the trimmings in our bee smoker and in the outdoor fireplace) and they are putting on new growth. I’ll soon try to take some cuttings to propagate for new plants to replace the ones that haven’t made it or look awful! Fortunately, we will continue to enjoy our dried lavender for the rest of the year!. Also, thanks to Grace for being a model for photos- it was fun!