Specializing in unique, quality Lavender products

Lavender is indigenous to the Mediterranean area and is a perennial herb plant, with a heavenly fragrance, that grows best in climates that don't have a lot of high heat or humidity.  If planted under the right conditions, it is a relatively easy plant to grow.  It prefers a well-drained soil that is somewhat sandy, not rich in humus, and slightly alkaline (pH factor between 6.0 and 8.0).  It loves full sun and rarely needs to be fertilized.

Lavender has been used medicinally for centuries and is reputed to have relaxing and healing properties.  It can help relieve headache, migraines and insomnia.   Many caregivers like to place lavender in sick rooms to ease the patient's distress.  It has soothing properties and is often associated with calming the nerves or relieving anxiety.

There are hundreds of different varieties of lavender; each one with its own special quality such as plant or flower size, flower or leaf color, fragrance or hardiness.  Although lavender is usually associated with shades of blue, plants are available in varying hues of purple and lilac, white, pink, mauve and even yellow.

The charming city of Sequim (pronounced "Skwim"), in Washington State, is located on the majestic Olympic Peninsula and offers the perfect climate for growing lavender.  The climate conditions are said to be similar to those in the famed lavender growing regions in France, making Sequim the North American capital of lavender production.  Fields of lavender are the crop of choice for many small farms in Sequim. Lavender is in full bloom generally from June through September and every year it's such a treat to see the beautiful purple fields swaying in the breeze.

Each year, beginning on Friday of the the third weekend in July, thousands of people arrive to celebrate lavender at the three day annual Sequim Lavender Festival.  Every visitor is invited to experience lavender and treat their senses during its peak performance.  A great way to experience "all things lavender", is to stroll through the many vendor booths, including Let's Do Lavender, at the Lavender Street Fair.  There you will find anything and everything lavender offered by local lavender enthusiasts whose products have been selected for their high quality.  Many local lavender farms are open to the public so you can roam through fields of blooming lavender, pick fresh bouquets, learn about the plant and techniques for growing, caring for, harvesting and using this wonderful plant. 

Planting Lavender
You can plant lavender in spring or fall in well-drained, slightly alkaline, sandy soil.  Planting on mounds or in raised beds can help to promote good drainage if your soil isn't ideal.  Select a sunny location, allow enough space for growth and good air circulation and plant with other plants that have similar water requirements.  Add about one-half cup each of bone meal and chicken manure into the soil, mix well; place the plants in the holes; give them some water and watch your lavender plant grow.  Water plants regularly the first year to ensure that they root well in their new surroundings and then they will be hardy and drought tolerant and need little or no water.  Generally, Mother Nature can take care of the watering.  Be careful not to over water since they don't like "wet feet.Depending on the variety and mature size of the lavender plants you choose, the plants should be planted 2-4 feet apart.  In general, the use of fertilizers in not necessary and may cause excessive leaf growth and minimal blooms.  I do, however, dig-in a small amount of bone meal (1/2 cup each) around my plants each spring.  Flower stalks should be cut off the first year to encourage plant development rather than flower production.

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Harvesting Your Flowers
Depending on the variety, lavender blooms are usually at their peak from late June through August. Harvest the flower stems on a dry day, in the late morning hours after any dew has evaporated.  Fresh bouquets should be cut when about one-third to one-half of the flowers have opened.  If you will be drying your lavender for bundles or buds for sachets, pick them when the flowers are about one-half open.

If you will be drying your cut lavender in bundles, each bunch should contain about one hundred stems. Wrap a rubber band around the bottom of the bunches and hang upside down to dry, in a well-ventilated, dry area, out of direct sunlight.  When they are completely dry, about two to three weeks, you can either strip the buds from the stems for easier storage, or store them on the stems.

Pruning Your Lavender
Plants should be pruned in early spring or early fall to one-half to two-thirds of their size, leaving about 2-3 inches of green stems.  Never cut into the woody part of the plant.  The plants respond well to this pruning and it will help them maintain their attractive mounded shape.  As summer progresses to fall, it's a good idea to remove all remaining bloom stalks and shape any straggly areas.

It's wise to purchase lavender plants rather than starting them from seed.  Plants started from seed usually have a poor survival rate and the process is very slow.  Lavender does root well from cuttings taken from mature plants in early spring.  Take two to four inch cuttings, remove the bottom leaves, dip the end into water, shake off excess and dip into rooting hormone.   Place carefully into pre-moistened potting soil.  Water regularly, keep warm (heated from the bottom if possible) and wait about six weeks for the cutting to root.

Another method of propagation is called layering.  Bend the lower stems of a mature plant and mound soil over them, leaving only the tip visible.  It takes about six months for rooting to take place.  You may then cut the rooted plant from the mother plant and transplant in a sunny, well-draining location.



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