Lavender Lavender Lavender

For many years, I have used lavender scents for everything. If there is a detergent, air freshener, oil, you name it, I will immediately choose lavender.  If you have never tried lavender citrus incense, you must!  It definitely rivals a good dragon’s blood or patchouli (I know not everyone likes patchouli but I have fond memories of it since my husband used to burn it when we first met).

lavender plantI started growing lavender about four or five years ago. Thankfully, we had a wonderful man at Kingsdene Nurseries in Hunt Valley take the time to tell me some secrets to growing it.

He said when planting, make sure that the roots are almost up out of the ground. If you bury the plant too deep, you will lose the plant. Lavender likes rocky/well drained soil – do not over water. Let the roots dry before watering. Lavender likes full sun.

growing lavender rocky soil

End of season lavender – more than ready for harvesting

I started growing it around a little decorative pond we built that was on the way over to the chicken house; however, we closed that pond in when we moved the horses here, and I had to transplant all my lavender plants. NOOO!!! I worked too hard choosing that perfect location, what if they don’t make it?

lavenderI moved them to the front corner of my house in with our rock garden. I did not think they would live, it’s all rock! There is hardly any soil there, but they thrived!

There are several different types of lavender. I chose a perennial version. If you know me, I’m always busy busy busy, super active, but I’m lazy in the sense that, if I can make something more efficient and less work, I’m going to do it that way. People always ask me how I accomplish so much in a day – it’s work smarter not harder. I’m a hard worker anyway, but I try to work smart.

growing lavender

3 stages of lavender growth

This year, I decided to add more lavender.  I purchased six small plants from Direct Gardening.  I put them directly in the rock garden.  I moved the river rocks, cut through the landscaping cloth underneath, set the plants in, and added just a small hand full of soil that I pushed under the cloth.  They took off almost immediately and are almost caught up with the older plants that I had transplanted the same year.

I attempted to plant some from seed as well.  I will warn, this is very difficult.  The seedlings are extremely frail.  I started out with about 20 of them and ended up with six-eight final plants that I was then able to transplant by the end of the season.  I will probably do more next year and try for a higher success rate.

drying lavenderEvery few days, I have been taking clippings and starting to dry.  I’ve dried in two ways.  My favorite way is to hang them but my cats LOVE to pull them down, shred them, and scatter pieces everywhere but I have found that putting them uncrowded in mason jars works pretty well and I can keep them out of reach of the cats with less temptation for hunting.

lavender gardenI think my goal is to grow enough that it covers the rock garden area.  It’s such a nice scent for the side of the house.

So what are my plans once the lavender dries?  I’m not sure yet.  I’ve made lavender oil before using cold pressed grape seed oil as a carrier.  It just isn’t quite as strong as I would like.  I may try again this year, stay tuned!

Update:  I made smudge sticks with lavender and sage.

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About Jodie Otte

Maryland Newborn Photographer and Child Portrait Artist, Jodie Holstein-Otte, specializes in unique photography of newborn babies, kids, and families. She works on location in Harford, Howard, Cecil, Anne Arundel, Baltimore and other areas throughout Maryland. She uses both both natural lighting and soft studio lighting techniques.