In old Europe, the summer solstice, June 21st was known as Midsomer’s Day. It is the point of the year when the days have reached the longest, and the day after they will begin the gradual shortening into winter. Plants sense this even more than we do and that led to the belief that any herb harvested at this time of year would be enbued with magical qualities.
This is an ideal time to harvest your lavender foliage and flowers when the plants are at peak of growth and oil content. If you do it right you’ll ensure they retain the essential oil needed to retain fragrance for as long as possible.
It’s best to harvest the lavender early in the morning after the dew has dried but before the heat of the day. That way they won’t wilt before you get them inside.
Gently wrinse the cuttings with fresh water, shake the excess moisture off. Inspect for any damage and remove it before you lay them out in a single layer on towels to air dry.
Tie the herbs into small bundles with twine and hang upside down in a cool, dry, airy place out of the sum. Keep the bundles small to avoid trapping moisture among the stems.
The three types of lavenders for home gardens that you can grow. Keep in mind that many of these species have a huge choice of cultivars.
English lavender Lavandula angustifolia Most cold hardy – tall thin flowers.
French lavender Lavandula dentata candicans Big bushy plants.
Spanish lavender Lavandula stoechas Most heat and drought tolerant.
You can see many lavender cultivars of all three species in the illustrated plant database at www.monrovia.com