The gorgeous lavender flowers kept the bees very busy the past couple of weeks, but I noticed that the majority of the blooms had faded and the bees were absent Saturday morning. According to some sources, lavender flowers should be cut when the flowers first start blooming, in order to have the highest level of oil retained in the dried flowers. I couldn’t take the lavender away from the bees, though. So, I waited until most of the flowers were spent, then cut them down in the morning when the oil is at its highest. I bundled the flower stalks up using some rubber bands, then hung them to dry upside-down so that the oil drains down from the stem, concentrating in the dried flowers. All-bloomed-out, they still smelled wonderfully pungent!
The above picture was the lavender in bloom just a couple weeks ago – it was such a gorgeous, deep shade of purple. Each one of the flower stalks run down to the plant, where I cut each one right above the green foliage. This is what it looks like now:
Hopefully this will urge her to send up some more blooms later in the season. Here’s what the bundles of dried lavender looked like:
In the meantime, the herb garden was just overflowing. I needed to make room for a couple new plants, but first, I seriously needed to do some harvesting! If you will remember, last year I had two basil plants in the back. They produced so much basil that I still have several ziploc bags full of dried leaves. Basil is best fresh. It’s OK dried, but it loses a lot of flavor. I won’t ever eat all of the dried, especially not now until November when this new plant dies. With two plants, however, we just had too much for the three of us to consume. So, I only bought one this time around … In the place of where the other plant was last year, I put a dill transplant. I saw it at the nursery and thought, why not? We eat dill at least a few times a month, so that makes sense. Plus, it attracts butterflies as well.
Harvesting is a little time-consuming lately! At least, more so than last fall. There was so much to cut, it took me two hours to cut, sort and bundle to dry. The sage was pretty buggy, especially the one that was flowering. Every one had sugar ants, fire ants, green loopers – that probably took me the longest just to rid the blooms of bugs. I wanted to hang them upside down and see how they dry. But yeah – bugs galore. Obviously everyone is very happy, as the sage didn’t seem to be any worse for the wear. Needless to say, I didn’t harvest any sage. That’s okay, too. I have a large jar full of dried leaves from last fall. The oregano was probably nearly 12″ tall in some areas. I cut it back as much as 8-10″ in most places, especially near the back where the chives are trying to get more light. I had a full bowl of two types of oregano. They smelled outstanding. The marjoram was just harvested a couple of weeks ago, so I only cut a small bundle of that. And, I had the largest thyme harvest I’ve had to date!