Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Local Lavender Project

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.


Cheryl said...

How lovely, sounds positively therepeutic. The heady smell of lavender calming the mind and feeding the soul.
I grow oodles of it here, I could not live without lavender. I dry mine in the shed and oh the smell. It is exquisite.

Lovely lovely post, you have a wonderful time when you go again.

Jo said...

Sounds lovely but I am allergic to the smell of lavender...I think the munchkin has been making lavender bags at nursery this week for Mother's Day!

High Desert Diva said...

My friend Trina owns Havenhill Lavender in Silverton, Oregon. She has events at her farm every year. People come and cut lavender, buy her handmade lavender products, browse through the barn filled with antiques for sale, feed the fish in the pond, swing on the tire swing, watch the sunset. It's a beautiful way to spend the day.

When is the harvest is the UK?

Hedgewitch said...

I agree, Cheryl.. if I could only have one herb it would have to be lavender!

Oh dear, Jo.. that's a tricky one! Its such a strong smell too.

Diva, the harvest this year is mid-July (I think 12th and 13th) at the Local Lavender Project.

I harvest my lavender in the herb garden pretty continuously over the summer though, starting just before the first flowers open. I only have a small bush but the more I cut it the more it comes back with more lavender .. fab!

BTW, if you let me know the details of your friend's event this year, I could put them on the blog for everyone, if you'd like?

Claire said...

how glorious!
around the village where i live there are several gardens with bunches of lavender out front. i just have to brush past it on my scooter :o)

Hedgewitch said...

Hi Claire - just visited your lovely blog and linked it here for others to see.

Yes, I think all gardens should be made to have a lavender hedge at the front, lol!