Here in Virginia, depending on the variety, lavender blooms from early June through mid-July. We provide baskets and scissors (adult and kid-safe) to you on your visit. You will be scouting to the field to find lavender stems that are starting to open. Generally you look for the florets on the bloom to be one-third to one-half open. These are best to cut for drying and maintaining their scent. You can cut a nice long stem, down to where the leaves are clustered. There will be farm staff available to show you what to do and answer your questions. We also provide paper towels, water and bags so your flowers can go home moistened. You can enjoy your lavender bouquet in a vase with water for awhile or you can immediately hang or lay flat your lavender bunch to dry in a dark, cool place. They will be finished drying in three days. Lavender buds keep their scent for years and years. When you tire of your dried bouquet you can strip the buds off the stems and make a sachet. If your sachet loses scent, give it a good pinch to release some of the oils that remain inside the buds.
How do You Care for Plants?
When you know a few tricks, lavender plant care is not difficult. Mid-eastern soils and climate conditions can provide a challenge to raising lavender so it’s good to give plants lots of room and good drainage. Lavender plants like full sun and need at least 50 percent sun daily. Do not over-water them as they like “their feet dry.” You can amend the soil with sand or pebbles for added drainage, but do not use mulch of any kind and do not mulch around the plants. Lavender likes a soil pH of 6.5 to 7.5. We also treat our plants twice a year with an all natural anti-fungal called Root Shield Plus every six months. Root Shield Plus can be purchased online. This treatment helps insulate the root system against the dreaded lavender killer, Phytophthora. The first year you plant the lavender, cut off the buds so the plant will bush out more quickly. By the third year you may have 1000 blooms per plant! Every year you must prune off about 1/3 of the entire lavender bush either in the fall (before November) or spring (by April 1st). Because we have a lot of plants we use a hedge-trimmer. But you can use scissors on your plants if they are few. Remember to trim so you keep a rounded shape. And don’t cut down into the woody part.
Will There Be Plants for Sale in Season 2019?
YES! As of the first day of the season, May 31st, we will be selling quart-sized pots of Hidcote Blue Lavender (on left) and Phenomenal Lavandin (on right) for $10.00 each. Although we will have a good amount there is no guarantee they won’t all sell before the end of the season. So if plant purchase is a goal you might want to shoot for earlier in the season.
Hidcote Blue Lavender (Lavendula Augustifolia) is one of the richest in essential oils, meaning more fragrance power both fresh and dried. This cultivar has a more erect, compact habit and darker flowers than many others, making it ideal for hedges. The fresh flowers can be crystalized and used in candies and cakes; dried flowers are used in potpourris and sachets; oils are used in creams and perfumes. But most important, this is a fine garden performer, prepared to flower over a long season in well-drained, slightly dry soil receiving full sun. An evergreen perennial, 'Hidcote Blue' has a subtle blue-green coloring and sweet fragrance. Reaching 12 to 18 inches high and wide, it boasts 2½-inch, linear, downy leaves on strong stems. The leaves first open white, then turn a pale gray-blue-green color. In summer they are topped by dark purple blooms that attract butterflies and bees. Zones 6-9.
Phenomenal Lavandin (Lavendula x Intermedia) is "phenomenal" in its name and once you see it, you'll know why. Huge, dense mounds of silvery green foliage are topped by long wands of electrifying purple blossoms in midsummer. Intensely fragrant and a haven for birds and bees, this lavender is compact and densely branched. Best of all, Phenomenal stands up to tough winter weather better than most other cultivars we have grown. Phenomenal won't die back in winter like most other lavenders, giving it new landscaping possibilities in the south and west, and making it a true perennial in the far north and east, where other varieties may struggle. Tolerant of heat and dry soil, this hardy beauty brings charm and sophistication to hedges, borders, and containers. Find a place for Phenomenal in your garden and prepare to be amazed! Zones 5-8.
Your New Plants: These lavender plants will have quite an advanced root ball so once you plant them in the ground they will be ready to go. It’s advisable that you plant them at lease three feet apart, as when they mature in 3-4 years, they will need all that extra space. These plants come already treated with Root Shield Plus, so if you choose to continue with this treatment, you will do so every six months. See directions above for plant care.
Here in Virginia, depending on the variety, lavender blooms from early June through mid-July. When it’s time to cut your lavender it should ideally be done in the morning before 11 a.m. as the hot sun evaporates the oil in the buds. Blooms which are one-third to one-half open on a stem are best to cut for drying. Hang or lay flat your lavender bunches to dry in a dark, cool place and they will be finished drying in three days.