I've been adding a couple of my handmade lavender sachets to Etsy today .. and in the process, I found the details of the community lavender harvest where I collected the lavender and some photos taken on my last visit. It was such a beautiful way to spend a sunny afternoon and I thought others might be interested, too?
The once famous lavender fields of the Carshalton area of London have been revived by The Local Lavender Project: cuttings were collected from the public and grown as a horticulture project at HMP Downview, providing prisoners with useful skills. Then prisoners on day-release helped clear and plant up 3 acres of disused allotments. Now that the lavender has matured, hundreds of people turn up every year to “pick their own” at the annual community harvesting event.
It just happened to fall on my birthday the year I took these photos, and it was one of the best I've had. We had to be very careful, though, as my companion was allergic to bee stings... and where there are 3 acres of lavender, there are lots of lovely big bumble-bees!
It was really easy to dry the lavender.. I had only dried smaller quantities before, from my garden, by hanging up bunches by the stems with a paper bag secured around the flowerheads to catch them. The same method worked fine for the larger bundles and the room smelt kind of wonderful for months! I save the dried stems when I've rubbed the dried flowerheads off to put on the fire in the winter.
Bioregional Local Lavender Project
I will definitely be going along again this year. Its hard to describe how it feels (and smells!) to be waist deep in a field of lavender.. its wonderful. And as the sun shines down and you inhale the relaxing aroma, you can't stop smiling.