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Let’s talk about how to harvest and dry lavender for crafts!

dried lavender candle ring diy

It’s that time of year again (now the sun has come finally come out) when the bees are lazily bumbling about the lavender and one’s mind turns to possible craft projects! It’s heady fragrance takes me straight back to my grandmother’s garden, and I love a few drops of essence on a little lavender cushion tucked under my pillow at night, but here are a few tricks to successfully harvest it yourself from the garden so it lasts as aong as possible!  how-to-harvest-english-lavender-225x300 Let's talk about how to harvest and dry lavender for crafts!

When to harvest lavender?

The ideal time to harvest lavender is when the buds are fully coloured with that gorgeous purple and the flowers are just starting to open. This is usually in early to mid-summer, but the exact timing can vary depending on your climate and lavender variety; avoid harvesting once the flowers are fully open, as they’ll lose their potency and may crumble when dry.

Cut your lavender on a dry, sunny morning after the dew has evaporated; this ensures the flowers retain their essential oils and dry more quickly. Use sharp pruning shears or secateurs to cut the stems 6-8 inches long, depending on your craft project.

What’s the best way to dry lavender?

Air drying is the simplest and most traditional method (and my preferred way of doing it). Tie 12-15 lavender stems together forming loose bundles; you can use garden twine but as the stalks dry and shrink they can slip out so I tend to use those elastic bands salvaged from the postman’s deliveries! Hang the bundles upside down in a cool, dark, well-ventilated area out of direct sunlight (drying in bright sunshine can cause the colour to fade). Good air circulation is key to prevent mould growth as any hint of moisture can spoil your beautiful buds! Let your lavender hang for 2-3 weeks, or until the flowers feel dry and brittle to the touch.diy-wildflower-seed-paper-259x300 Let's talk about how to harvest and dry lavender for crafts!

Preserving your lavender
Once your lavender is dry, you can either leave the stems intact (perfect for wreath-making or floral arrangements) or strip the buds from the stalks; use your fingers or gently comb the flowers with a fork. Store the dried lavender buds in airtight containers in a cool, dark place. Properly dried lavender can last for a year or more, retaining its beautiful color and calming fragrance for all your crafting adventures.large-lavender-heart-wreath-diy-300x295 Let's talk about how to harvest and dry lavender for crafts!

How can I use lavender at home?

Yes, I know it is quite trendy to use lavender for cooking and baking, and have tried both lavender fudge and shortbread; however I find hotel shampoo is the overhwhelming flavour I am left with so generally just stick with craft projects! The dried buds makes a gorgeous addition to our home-made relaxing bath steamers, while the stems are ideal for wreaths, candle rings and card-making; sign up to our Hygge Club newsletter (link at bottom of the page) and be the first to know when we release our next craft project as we have some fabulous lavender ideas coming in the next couple of weeks!

Top tips!

  • Don’t store your cut lavender in water as the flowers will continue to open; just wrap the bunches in paper and store them in the fridge until you are ready to deal with them.
  • Dried lavender can lose its fragrance over time so add a few drops of essential oil to your project every few weeks to refresh that gorgeous soothing aroma.
  • You might find that your lavender wreath or arrangment might shed a few buds, particularly if it is hanging on the wall; a quick blast of hairspray will ensure that they stay in place.

Why is lavender good for you?

Science has been catching up to the traditional uses of lavender, and there are some clinically proven advantages to use it around the home…

  • Reduced Anxiety and Stress: Lavender’s calming properties are well-documented. Inhaling lavender oil or aromatherapy with lavender has been shown to reduce anxiety in several studies, including those involving people with anxiety disorders [1].
  • Improved Sleep: Lavender’s relaxing effect can also extend to sleep quality. Studies suggest that lavender aromatherapy or consuming lavender tea may help promote better sleep [2].
  • Pain Relief: Lavender oil may offer some relief from pain. Research indicates that topical application of lavender oil might be helpful for headaches and menstrual cramps [3].
  • Antimicrobial Properties: Lavender oil possesses properties that fight bacteria and fungus [4], useful for minor skin conditions or wound healing. As ever, please be careful if you have existing medical conditions, are pregnant or are a child under the age of 12.

Images taken from Wreath Making For All Occasions by Becci Coombes, available here!

 

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