I am often asked about the famous fields of lavender that grow in the south of France, it is true that they are beautiful, but actually lavender grows pretty well up here in Normandy too.
I have planted a long row of lavender on a south-facing wall beneath an espalier apricot tree, and this year it is doing well.
The apricots are ripening beautifully, and the bees are buzzing in the lavender bushes below. For the moment the blue grey flowers are only just opened, but by late August they shall be ready to harvest.
Harvesting the lavender is not just about the perfume. It is vital to cut the bushes back hard to keep them in a good shape and prevent their stems from growing too long and too woody.
I still have plenty of lavender from last year. I used a lot to make up some pretty sachets that I used as hostess gifts, but for larger quantities I drop handfuls of the dried stems into some cotton bags with ribbon ties to close them.
The bags can be popped behind stacks of sheets in my armoires, and when their perfume has lost its strength, they simply need to be replenished.
And if I drop any lavender while I’m filling the bags, I vacuum it up and it perfumes the hoover too.
Little pleasures that cost nothing and take only a few minutes to put together.