The time for playing with lavender is now!

Hi there! At this time of year I am usually too busy to stop and write a ‘how to’ post about lavender and the different crafts I make with it. But by the time I do get to write about it, with ‘how to’ instructions, it is a bit too late! So this year I am providing links to all of my previous posts about lavender in this blog. That way, if you want to make a lavender wand, or a lavender wreath, you can do so while the lavender is still available!

12 seems to be the number of lavender wands that I enjoy making in a season. I make those 12 really quickly, and then I don’t have any interest to make more. I looked at possibly trying some different styles this year, but honestly, I like mine best (says she, trying to be humble about it). I did make one change for the last few that I made this year – instead of using 25 stems, I used 35 – 41 stems. They were really thick! I’m not sure if that is better, or just different. You can read how to make lavender wands here, or watch a video here.

I did get a bit of a head start on my wreath making this year. That’s because for the first time, instead of waiting for the lavender to dry, I made a fresh lavender wreath. I usually make wreaths with dried lavender, and attach the lavender with floral ‘u’ pins. This wreath was made using fresh lavender and the lavender was attached with one continuous piece of floral wire. It has a very different look! It hangs in my kitchen, and in the past couple of weeks it has grown on me. I now like it very much! You can see some of my past wreaths and how I made them here, here, here, here, and here .

There are quite a few lavender plants in our garden. They are at different stages of maturity and their blooms develop at slightly different times. I’ve gone through and cut most of the mature stems over the past two weeks. They are now drying out – in my house. It’s a bit tricky this year! I usually dry them in our ‘sitting room’ which isn’t usually used. But this year, the ‘sitting room’ is my husband’s office and my son has started playing our piano, which is also in that room. So if my husband isn’t in the room, my son is! Instead, the lavender is drying in our front hall. Some people hang their lavender. I hang my roses and other flowers to dry them, but I just haven’t managed to figure out how to hang the huge amount of lavender I have, yet. The lavender dries out really quickly – a few weeks, tops. I still have two plants with immature blooms, that should be ready for me to use next week (so I could make more wands if I wanted to!).

I will start making dried lavender wreaths in the next couple of weeks. Again, it is a bit tricky this year as the table I usually use for my crafts is now my work desk. It means that I’ll have to start and finish the task over the weekend – including cleaning up the mess! Boy do I miss the use of the ‘unused’ sitting room where I could come and go to craft, and just close the door to hide my mess until I was completely finished.

I hope you find the tutorials helpful! It is fun for me to look back on all of the different styles of wreaths and different colors of wands that I’ve made over the years. My lavender pages are by far the most popular pages on my website – I’m not alone in my enjoyment of making things from the garden! It is such a bonus to be able to enjoy the relaxing fragrance of lavender while working with it. 🙂

Will you make any lavender crafts this year?

In Peace,
Dana

July 10 front gate garden
It is traditional to post a picture of this bed! It has 2 lavender plants, Incrediball hydrangea, hydrangea paniculata, Lychnis Coronaria Rose Campion, Pittosporum Tom Thumb, Bergenia, and Syringa v. Beauty of Moscow.
Bunch of lavender wands
This season’s lavender wands in front of one of our lavender plants. The stems are a bright green when they are first cut, but will dry to a dark green over time.
lavender wands in lavender
Lavender wands are easy to make and mostly involve weaving ribbon through stems.
Lavender display
The easiest way to display lavender is to simply throw it in a vase (no water required)!
basket of lavender
This basket full of lavender is from part of one plant.
Lavender wreath in progress collage
It was a little bit challenging to make the wreath with one continuous piece of wire. But it was a lot faster than my usual method!
Wreath on playhouse collage
I used dried peony flowers (Sarah Bernhardt) as an accent.
lavender wreath inside collage
This is where the wreath lives now – in my kitchen.
fresh lavender wreath
A fresh lavender wreath hanging on our playhouse door.
Mom in the Garden with lavender
Sunny, blue skies are every reason to smile!

I hope your summer is sunny and full of fun for you 🙂

Things will get done when they get done

Lavender wreath in the making - first round

It starts with a straw wreath frame, some floral ‘U’ pins, and groups of 12 stems of lavender each being pinned into place!

There are lots of good things about getting older, and one of them is knowing that things will get done when they get done. Are you smiling? I hope so. Because isn’t it the truth? I definitely used to fret more when I was younger, worrying about when things would get done. Now, a bit older and (hopefully) wiser, I see that life is so full, and most of us are always in ‘go’ mode which makes it really difficult to slow down or even rest. I’m learning that it is perfectly O.K. to stop and take some time out, because things will get done when they get done.

Lavender Wreath in progress - half way

Section by section the lavender is pinned in place.

Lavender Wreath + fuschia roses side view

A side view shows that the wreath frame is completely covered in lavender, with an accent of roses and hydrangea.

Lavender wreath + fuschia roses + hydrangea full view

This design has the lavender go in one direction, ending with flowers.

This leads me to my lavender story. You see, I needed a rest. I’m used to going ‘non-stop’ and this past year I’ve just had to slow things down a bit. With my lavender this meant that while I harvested it in July, and even made some lavender wands, after I laid it out to dry, I just left it. One wreath was made ‘on schedule’, but then … nothing. I have no reason, and 100 reasons. There was a little progress as the summer shifted into fall and chilled into winter, and the little progress kept on going and bit by bit the wreaths were made. I needed that extra time to not rush through and make them just to make them. I wanted to enjoy the process and be present when I did so.

Lavender wreath + Rosemary and Rose focus - in progress

This wreath has Rosemary and roses in the design.

Lavender wreath + Rosemary in progress

I really like the green of the Rosemary when it is first cut. Everything is attached with the floral ‘U’ pins, except for the roses, which are glued on with a hot glue-gun.

Rosemary from my garden

Rosemary from my garden.

Lavender Wreath with Rosemary + roses complete

I’m glad to have someplace to make my wreaths – and not worry about the mess!

I can be somewhat impulsive, and when the mood strikes to create a wreath, I just go with it, gathering up whatever materials tickle my fancy that day. This is the first year that I used up nearly all of my dried lavender from this season. The wreaths were so full of lavender!

Lavender wreath in progress roses on top

This design was rather unusual. I worked the lavender in three rows around the frame. I have to say that this was a bit tricky to work through.

Lavender wreath with roses on top

Close up of the dried roses.

lavender wreath + roses on top + ribbon on door

The finished wreath embellished with a ribbon.

Repeating designs is not really something I like to do. I prefer to try new ways of making things. Sometimes this works well, and sometimes I think ‘I should have stuck to the original plan’! It’s a learning process. This season my dried roses really kept their colors, which I think adds a nice contrast to the shape and color of the lavender. I do like to work with greens, too, so the Rosemary was a nice addition – although sadly, it won’t keep that pretty bright green color. This is the first time that I worked a very tiny amount of hydrangea into the lavender wreath, too, just to try something different!

Lavender in basket

This is my lavender basket, which is now nearly empty.

I am now finished with making lavender wreaths for this year, and I’m happy to say that I enjoyed the process (and I like the wreaths, too)! And it is so true that things will get done when they get done.

In Peace,
Dana

Lavender wreath + Rosemary + roses outside

Lavender, Rosemary and Roses

Lavender wreath roses on top + ribbon

Lavender wreath with roses and a ribbon

Lavender wreath + fuschia roses full view

Lavender wreath with roses and hydrangea

 

(Another?!) Lavender Wreath

Front Gate garden with hydrangea, lavender and lupin

our front gate garden with hydrangea, lavender and lupin in early July

Well hello there! Welcome to my blog where I am hanging on to summer with both hands! It’s true, I am frantically working in the garden, and out, trying to get all of the summer jobs done before, well, summer ends. How does time fly by so quickly? (Thankfully, this is a true sign of enjoying ourselves!)

our front Gate garden with hydrangea, lavender in late July

our front gate garden with hydrangea and lavender in late July

July is the month for Lavender here in Ireland. The best time to make lavender wands is just as the lavender comes into bloom, in early to mid July. I made a few this year, because they are just fun to make!

Mom in the Garden with Lavender Wands

Mom in the Garden with this season’s Lavender Wands

Mid July is also the time when I harvest my lavender. I cut about 2/3 of the stems (including the blooms) and lay it flat to dry. It usually takes a couple of weeks to dry. So typically, I’d then use the dried lavender to make wreaths in August. I’m waaaay behind with that this year, and I have just made one wreath so far! But my lavender is at least all bundled up and looking pretty in some baskets. 🙂

Basket of Lavender

Basket of Lavender

drying lavender on the floor

This is where I dried most of the lavender this year – on the floor of the room my daughter uses to practice her Irish dancing. She was away for 3 weeks at the Gaeltacht (Irish camp) so it worked perfectly!

I’ve made several lavender wreaths over the past number of years (Have you checked out my ‘Wreaths of all Varieties‘ page? The link is at the very top of the Mom in the Garden page.) I like writing about wreaths because they are so easy to make, and really, anyone can do it! There are a few basic things I need to start with: “u” pins / floral pins, secateurs / garden shears, a straw wreath frame, floral wire to make the hanging hook, and dried lavender.  Extras include dried roses, Spanish moss, some ribbon and some coffee (decafe, of course).

Lavender Wreath set up

Lavender Wreath set up with straw wreath frame, floral pins, garden shears, dried lavender and roses, and Spanish moss

I love saving flowers from the garden. I’ve spray painted artichokes and created Christmas arrangements with them! If you cut artichokes and allium at the right time, their purple stays purple for a very long time. ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’ anyone?

vases of dried flowers

vases of dried (and painted) flowers including allium, artichokes, bells of Ireland, barley, roses, and hydrangea

This year I’ve set up an old table in our ‘sitting room’. We rarely use this room, and I can make as big a mess as I’d like and it won’t be in anyone’s way. It has great lighting too.

floral pins, straw wreath frame, and hanging hook

getting started: the basics: making the hanging hook, floral pins, straw wreath frame

The first thing I do, after gathering all of my materials, is make a hanging hook. You can see in the picture above that I’ve used some floral wire which I doubled to make stronger. I wanted to know how many floral pins I’d need, so I started with a box of 50 – which covered about 1/3 of the wreath.  So I needed about 150 pins! I use a 12 inch (30.5 cm) straw wreath frame for my lavender wreaths.

Lavender Wreath starting with roses

Starting with the Spanish moss on the outside, and dried roses on the inside

I like to put Spanish moss around the outside of the wreath – just to make sure I don’t have any straw showing when I’m finished. Confession time: I actually made this wreath a tiny bit backwards (oops!). I started with my dried roses at the bottom, and I think it would have been much easier to add them last. I’m making a note here for next time! 🙂

Lavender Wreath roses + lavender start

I filled in the area around the roses and then went to the top of the wreath and worked down

Lavender Wreath sample group

each group of lavender has 7 to 10 lavender stems, and I cut the stems about a thumb’s distance from the blooms with sharp secateurs and ‘pin’ the group of stems into the straw wreath frame with the floral pins

I filled in the area around the roses first. Then I had a bit of an ‘ah ha’ moment and realized I should be starting from the top. I’m sure there are lots of different ways to do this, but I find that going from the top down makes it easier to cover the stems as you go along.

Lavender Wreath beginning

Starting from each side at the top and working down is a method that works well to cover the stems easily.

I think one thing you do need to have is patience. It is time consuming. The lavender smells so lovely as you work with it, though, and it definitely relaxes you!

Lavender Wreath in progress

Lavender Wreath in progress

Piece by piece, the frame gets covered with lavender.

Lavender wreath almost complete

One last little section to cover!

Lavender Wreath bow

The bow I made by playing around with the ribbon – like tying a shoelace over and over again!

Completed Lavender Wreath in garden

ta-da! Finished lavender wreath!

I had some video of my making the wreath on my Instagram stories the other day. Did you see it? Let me know what you think! The roses are also from my garden. I usually cut the first 20 or so roses at the very start of the season so that I’ll have them for wreaths. I cut them when they are still closed, as they dry best that way. And not to worry about the bees, I’ve left lots of lavender in the yard for them!

Lavender + bees + hydrangea

This bunch of lavender was left for the bees

I hope I’ve inspired you to try your hand at making a wreath! It’s really not hard. I’m glad I made (another?!) one!

In peace,
Dana

Completed Lavender Wreath on playhouse

completed lavender wreath on our playhouse door

 

Wreath making in the height of Lavender Season

One of my lavender plants (lavandula angustifolia) nestled between Pittosporum Tom Thumb and Hydrangea Incrediball

I have quite a few lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) plants . They thrive in my yard, and I am quite happy about that! About mid-July, depending on the weather, I start to “harvest” the lavender. I cut it as it just starts to bloom, cutting about 2/3 of the stem (or a bit more). Then, this is the fun part, I lay it on the floor around my house; in my sitting room, in my bedroom, in any free space that I can find, because it is a lot of lavender! I try and lay it flat, to help it to dry out as quickly as possible. A couple of weeks usually does the trick (as long as it isn’t wet when I cut it). Thankfully, we don’t really use the sitting room, so at least it isn’t a problem to use the entire floor of that room!

This one is my favorite lavender plant (Lavandula angustifolia) in bloom

There are a few things I do with the lavender. If I have time when I cut it, I will make lavender wands (the stems must be fresh though, so they don’t break while bending). I also make lavender sachets, which involves taking the lavender off of the stems after they are dried, and then sewing up little pouches. You can click here to read and see more about wands and sachets. But my favorite craft to do with lavender is to make wreaths.

I took apart one of last year’s lavender wreaths. Here’s what came off of it! (Lavender, Rosemary, Roses, Spanish moss)

It is a time when I can be creative, work with my hands and just have fun.  I love it! Depending on the wreath, it takes about two hours to make, give or take. Aside from the plant materials, the main items which I use are: floral straw wreath form, floral “u” pins, and secateurs. I try and use some kind of different plant material every year, and this year I used poppy seed pods, and an artichoke. I made three different wreaths, each a bit different. Here’s a look at what I did!

This is how it begins: a bunch of lavender, and a wreath form!

I start with grabbing a bunch of dried lavender and any other plant materials I’m going to use. The above wreath is only going to have those four roses with the lavender. I attached the roses first and then worked around them, starting on the top right. I tend to work out from the top, first going right half way around, and then working from the top again and going left.

I cut the lavender a bit more than one width of my finger space from the flower.

It can be a tedious task, as it takes many, many bunches of lavender to fill the wreath! The up-side is that the room smells wonderful while working with the lavender!

I love my GelPro classic gel mat, especially when standing on tiles for so long! (I also love my sparkle Birkenstocks)

It takes patience, but it is lovely to see how it fills in and of course the smell is wonderfully relaxing!

One little bunch at a time!

The next wreath had lots more plant material! I didn’t use the artichoke which is in bloom on the table, as it was too big.  I did use a tiny one, though.

The lavender in the center of this wreath is actually from last year. You can see the difference in color when I add the outside layer.

close up of the roses, poppy seed pods, Rosemary and artichoke

It was only after taking the close-up picture above that I realized that the wreath would look better with another layer of lavender. It just looked like it was missing something.

Filling in an outside layer of lavender.

Ah yes, you can see it now, can’t you?  The inside layer is definitely lighter! 🙂 This is where the two plus hours comes in…

The third lavender wreath will have poppy seed pods and roses.

My third lavender wreath had roses and poppy seed pods.  I started at the top left for this one, and placed the roses on the right.

Pinning the roses on.

The roses are also from my garden.  I try and cut as many as possible early in the season so they will be dried enough for the wreaths.  I think I’ve finally decided that it is best to cut them while they are still closed. They will still dry even when opened, but the color stays darker when they are closed.

The poppy seed pods were neat!

I really like the poppy seed pods!  This is my first time using them in a wreath. I know they dry brown, so I’m not sure how it will look in a few weeks time. I’ve also learned NOT to turn the wreath upside down as millions of teeny tiny seeds will go everywhere! 🙂

I LOVE making lavender wreaths! I had to stop at three because I don’t have any more wreath forms and I can’t seem to get my hands on them here!  Please let me know if you see where I can buy them in Ireland!

Plain and simple with LOTS of lavender.

A little bit more than “plain and simple”, but still LOTS of lavender!

Over the top! A lavender wreath with yarrow, roses, poppy seed pods, rosemary, and one globe artichoke. Oh – and LOTS of lavender!

Whatever lavender doesn’t get used in the wreaths will be taken off of the stems and stored in containers to be made into sachets (eventually).  The lavender stays fragrant for a very long time!

There is lavender growing around our playhouse, too!

I have not harvested all of my lavender, as that wouldn’t be fair to the bees!  No, there is still plenty for them.  I will have to trim those plants later in the season, after the bees are finished with them.

I hope you enjoyed seeing how I create my lavender wreaths!

In peace,
Dana

A Summer Wreath of Lavender, Rosemary & Roses

lavender in the garden

I love having scented plants in the garden.  Three of my favorite scented plants are lavender, rosemary, and roses.  I also like to dry roses and lavender because they really keep their scent and they are so easy to dry.

this is how we hang

I dry my roses early in the season knowing that I’ll want to use them before the end of the summer.  I’ve learned that the dark pink ones dry best, and I need to cut them before they start to open too much.  I was experimenting with the yellow roses in the picture above.  They have such a beautiful sweet scent, but they dry a rather ‘brownish’ color that isn’t pretty.

this is what we start with

Lavender is usually ready to harvest in the middle to end of July here in Ireland.  I LOVE to work with lavender!  I’ve made wands and sachets and wreaths before. You can read and see about those here,  here and here.

Step one: Spanish moss

Making a wreath is so easy.  I use a straw wreath and floral u-shaped pins to attach everything to the wreath. The Spanish moss is a great filler.

rosemary as the base

I like to have green in with the lavender to brighten it up.  We have a rosemary plant that doesn’t get used enough in cooking so it is getting rather big.  I gave it a super trim and had quite a lot to work with then.

one bunch of lavender at a time

I did not have any design in mind when I started (ahem, probably not the best way to start!).  I just went with the flow and put things where they seemed right to put. 😉

just need the roses now

The roses are the most delicate. It was helpful to have the moss to use to help pin them in place.

My hands smelled so good while making this!  I’m not sure which I like more – the rosemary or the lavender!

My gladiolas ‘the dark knights’ and some of those sweet smelling yellow roses that tend to droop!

lavender wreath on our playhouse

This is our playhouse. I’m slowly creating a tiny garden around it and I’ve started with lavender.

wreath on the playhouse door

 

lavender, rosemary & roses wreath

Tadah!  It was so quick and easy to make and I love the result.  It didn’t require that much lavender, either, which means I still have loads left to work with!

Summer Wreath 2016

My wreath from last summer needs some freshening up, but I still like it 🙂  Are you making anything from the garden this summer?

In peace,
Dana

Making Lavender Wands: The Video!

lavender & lilies

lavender, lilies & hydrangea

I LOVE lavender.  I love the smell of it, how it looks before it is in bloom, how it looks after it blooms,  and how even just brushing past it in the garden will cause it to emit its lovely scent.  I love everything about it!

view of the fields, too

view of the fields, too

There are a few different things you can do with lavender.  I usually dry it and then make sachets.  I have also made lavender wreaths.  You could probably find a vase or two around my house, full of lavender!

dried lavender bouquets, wands & sachets

dried lavender bouquets, wands & sachets

lavender sachets

lavender sachets

lavender wreath

lavender wreath

But I think the most interesting thing to do with it is to make wands.  They are kinda quirky.  I have a bunch of them arranged in a vase.  One daughter has a wand on her dresser.  They are also pretty on a bathroom counter.  I think they also make a nice “little gift” to give someone.

lavender wands

lavender wands

My lavender is at the perfect stage for making lavender wands; the flowers are just starting to open and the stems are not yet stiff. The stems have to be pliable to bend them over the blooms.  You can have a look at my picture instructions of how to make wands here:   https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/lavender-wands-my-first-lavender-wreath/

lavender in bloom

lavender in bloom

a mature lavender plant

a mature lavender plant

I have ventured to make an instructional video, prompted by my dear neighbor from NY, Betty.  Since I can’t show her in person how to make them, I thought I’d make a video for her (and share it with all of you!).

wands in a vase

wands in a vase

This is my first attempt at making “a” video.  The outcome was making 4 short videos! As it happens, I prefer having nice short videos when I look up how to make things myself.  Please feel free to let me know what you think!

 

In peace,
Dana

Mom in the Garden (2014)

Mom in the Garden (2014)

A lavender wreath with roses and herbs

In the beginning...

In the beginning…

I have been just itching to make something with my lavender since I started harvesting it a couple of weeks ago.  I knew I wasn’t going to have the time to make lavender wands. It had to be a relatively quick and easy project.  Since my wreath from last year was fading a bit, I decided another wreath was in order.  I made two different style wreaths last year, but I didn’t want to do the same again this year.

Well, I guess this one is the official "in the beginning..."

One of last year’s wreaths

Where did we go for ideas before Pinterest??? What an amazing site to visit!  I perused the site a few times, and the one thing that stuck in my head was using greenery of some sort with the lavender.  I wanted to get the wreath made quickly, without spending a lot of time looking for items to add to it.  I actually stumbled upon the greenery in my garden.  Oh I know, that is terrible to admit.  It is an herb of some sort that we don’t use, and it is totally neglected.  I think it is thyme.  (shhh, don’t mention to anyone that I don’t know what herb it is)  😉

Lavender wreath in progress...

Lavender wreath in progress…

I had to start with taking the old wreath apart. I wasn’t sure if I was going to keep some of it or not.  But as I fumbled through ideas of how I was going to make it, I decided to take it all apart.

Lavender with herbs and roses and Spanish Moss

Lavender with herbs and roses and Spanish Moss

To make the wreath, I pin small bunches of items to the frame with metal pins that are “u” shaped. You simply push them into the straw-framed wreath base. I find the pins to be the easiest way to attach things.  I used a lot more Spanish Moss this year, to completely cover the base.  Most of the roses are my favorite type and most fragrant: Rosa Jacques Cartier (1868).  There are a few of the Pink Peace hybrid tea rose and Queen Elizabeth Floribunda Rose, too.  I was experimenting to see which type dried best.  I still think it is the Rosa Jacques Cartier, although they are quite tiny.

finished wreath and all the mess on my table

finished wreath and all the mess on my table

The little bouquets of lavender are tied together with raffia and then pinned to the base.  I wanted it to be easy to make (kinda mentioned that a few times already). So I decided to start with a basic pattern.  I had enough greenery to alternate it with the lavender.  Those happen to be all of the roses I dried earlier this summer.  It was just enough, which was lucky for me!

hangin' on our kitchen wall

hangin’ on our kitchen wall

My 14 year old daughter was the first to see it and exclaimed that she really liked it.  Phew! It passed the first test of family approval! It was nice to hear she liked it, too.

I couldn't do it without my lavender!

I couldn’t do it without my lavender!

Besides, it will be hanging on our kitchen wall and we’re all going to be looking at it for a while.  Better to make something we all like…

Lavender with cornflower

Lavender with cornflower

My lavender has been buzzing like crazy this week.  There are so many bees!  And a few butterflies.  I’m glad I didn’t harvest all of it.  Plus I hate loosing that pretty purple in the garden.

Using an egg cup made of pottery.

Using an egg cup made of pottery.

I have lavender all over the house at this stage.  Lots of it is still drying out. I have quite a few large vases filled with lavender, and a couple of tiny vases, too. I also have containers full of the tiny blooms which are used for sachets.  So much lavender!

dried lavender & dried roses

dried lavender & dried roses

Lavender Wreath with roses and herbs

Lavender Wreath with roses and herbs

I loved hanging the wreath on the fence.  That spot is supposed to have hedging in front of it.  But the hedging isn’t doing well right there.  It was just calling out “hang the wreath here for a picture!”  Yes, it really was.

See? It really is easy to create things from your own garden.  Have you made anything that just made you smile?

Since it is lavender season, I’m going to put my link in for making lavender wands and my lavender wreath from last year.  Let me know if you make something with your lavender!

https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/lavender-wands-my-first-lavender-wreath/ 

https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/english-lavender-in-full-bloom-lavender-wands/

Dana

Lavender Season – a delight to behold!

 

Lavender up close

Lavender up close

We moved into our home four years ago. My husband and I really like living in the country, and our home suits us just right. The yard was more or less a blank canvas for us, except for the established lavender garden. What a treat! Lavender! So pretty to look at, and a scent to match that beauty!

One view of the lavender garden

One view of the lavender garden.  (As a side note, the fields in the background are planted with potatoes and the plants have bloomed with white flowers!)

Our first summer here, one of my sisters-in-law suggested I dry the lavender. I’ve been drying it and finding different things to do with it ever since. I have really grown to love it.   It is so fragrant that I don’t even need to brush past it to enjoy the scent; it is already wafting in the air.  It truly is a relaxing fragrance too.

Lavender garden with an old milk container squished in

Lavender garden with an old milk container squished in

Full lavender garden view with milk container

Full lavender garden view with milk container

Someone with so much lavender in their yard surely has to do something creative with it!  I surprised myself last year with the number of lavender wands I made.  The colors of the ribbons I used to weave the lavender were so pretty to work with.

Lavender Wands

Lavender Wands

I shouldn’t forget the wreath, either.  I was really delighted with how it came out.  This year I just haven’t had the time to spend on crafts, unfortunately.  That is a huge unfortunately, because I really enjoy making things with my hands.

Lavender wreath with dried roses

Lavender wreath with dried roses

There is still a bit of time left to work with the lavender, so I just might get something made.  This past week I have been cutting some of it to dry for bouquets.  (All is definitely not lost!)

If you would like to try your hand at making lavender wands, you can have a look at my post from last year:   https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/lavender-wands-my-first-lavender-wreath/

Lavandula angustifolia Lavender in our fruit and vegetable garden

Lavandula angustifolia Lavender in our fruit and vegetable garden

Even after working long days, it has been so wonderful to go into the garden and cut lavender. The lavender I just planted last year was the first in need of cutting. I can’t believe how much it grew!  Lavandula angustifolia Lavender.  It was just a bit bluer than my established lavender, and the blooms were a bit thinner, too.  But still beautiful.

Nature also enjoy the lavender

Nature also enjoying the lavender

I bet you didn’t think I could pose this many pictures of lavender, now did you?  Even the different times of day give it a different appearance!

Lavender in evening sunlight

Lavender in evening sunlight – this looks almost pink (but is definitely purple)

Clematis Bagatelle 'Dorothy Walton' and lavender

Clematis Bagatelle ‘Dorothy Walton’ and lavender

Lavender and play house

Lavender and play house

A sunny evening with dark clouds in the background

A sunny evening with a dark sky in the background

I loved how the lavender gave some pretty color to our fruit and vegetable garden.  I was sad to cut the color away…

Lavender close up

Lavender close up

One last view of the lavender garden

One last view of the lavender garden

And that is the story of my lavender this season!  I hope you have enjoyed seeing all of my pictures.  I wish I could share the beautiful scent with you too! Maybe one day we’ll have the technology to do that. 🙂

Dana

 

 

 

 

 

Lavender Wands & my first Lavender Wreath.

Lavender wreath with dried roses - all from the garden.

Lavender wreath with dried roses – all from the garden.

I love lavender!  Better still, I love having lavender in the garden.  Even just brushing past it produces the beautiful lavender scent.  July is the month for lavender here in Ireland.  I have lavender that can be quite showy, especially this month.  I was delighted to see 5 established plants when we moved into our home three years ago. I don’t know their exact variety, but I think they are possibly Grosso Lavandin, or maybe Lavandula x intermedia.  I will admit that I am really not sure!

My lavender - possibly Grosso Lavandin.

My lavender – possibly Grosso Lavandin (or maybe Lavandula x intermedia!).

Lavender prefers well drained soil, and lots of sun.  Honestly, I’m not sure why my plants do well.  This year, sure, it has been sunny and dry, but this is certainly not the case every year.  Last year was exceptionally wet, and I really thought the plants were lost to root rot. At the end of last year’s season I trimmed all of the stems off as I do every year (cutting off about 2/3 of the stem).  But I didn’t expect them to survive.  In fact, I ordered some more plants!

Lavender angustifolia in a raised bed.

Lavender angustifolia in a raised bed.

Six new plants!  Lavender angustifolia seemed to be a similar variety to my plants.  I put them in a new raised bed.  They seem quite happy!

Lavender.

My well established lavender plants.

Some of our lavender.

Some of our lavender.

It really is a fantastic amount of lavender.  Just this season I’ve made 24 lavender wands, and one very full wreath, and I still have a lot left to dry.  Yay!

The first year we moved into the house my sister-in-law suggested that I really should do something with all of that lavender!  She was right, and so I started with just drying the flowers.  Then with suggestions from friends, I moved on to making lavender wands, and this year I added making a wreath.

Making a lavender wreath.

Materials for making a lavender wreath:  a wreath form, floral pins (some are in the center of the wreath), some floral wire, and a wire cutter.

Small bunches of lavender.

Small bunches of lavender.

Floral pins to attach the bunches.

Floral pins to attach the bunches.

Easy peasy :-)

Easy peasy 🙂

Making a wreath is easy, once you have the right materials.  I like using a straw-form wreath. While I was home in the States,  I picked up this small 10 inch wreath for  just $2.99 at Jo-Ann fabrics. I first tied the small bunches of lavender with some floral wire, and then  I used floral pins to attach them to the wreath.  That’s it!  You just keep attaching small bunches and work your way around the wreath.

Work in progress.

Work in progress.

I have so much more appreciation for lavender wreaths now!  It does take some time to cut the lavender, wire it, and fill in the wreath.  It is usually helpful to have some Spanish moss, or some kind of filler for the very outside of the wreath. I didn’t have any of that so my wreath is quite full with lavender!

Super full!

Super full side view!

Some dried roses from the garden.

Some dried roses from the garden.

I’m still not sure about a ribbon.  For now, I really like just having the three small dried roses.  They are also fragrant!

Wreath with our Failte (Welcome) plaque.

Wreath with our Failte (Welcome) plaque in the front hall.

I knew that the wreath was going to use up a lot of my lavender, so before making it I made a bunch of wands.  They are rather quirky and unusual and I love them!  If you are wondering what to do with them, I have a few ideas.  They make a nice hostess gift, can go in clothes drawers or closets, a few in a vase are fun, or simply laying on the bathroom windowsill. The lavender scent will last for years.   I posted about making lavender wands last year. You can see that post here:  https://mominthegarden.wordpress.com/2012/07/16/english-lavender-in-full-bloom-lavender-wands/

Lavender wands.

Lavender wands.

The trick is to work with the lavender before the stems become woody.  Last week was the perfect time for mine.  I like to have a couple of stems with some blooms open, but for the most part they are made with lavender that isn’t yet open.

Tie up a bunch of between 21 and 23 stems.

Tie up a bunch of stems.  I use between 21 – 25 stems.

You weave the ribbon through the stems as you fold the stems over.

Weave the ribbon through the stems as the stems are folded over.

This year I discovered a new way to finish the wands.  I have to give credit to Robb, of the “how’s Robb” blog.  I came across it, and loved how he neatly knotted the ribbon on the handle of the wand so it doesn’t unravel.  Here is the link to his blog on lavender wands:      http://howsrobb.blogspot.ie/2013/05/how-to-make-lavender-wands.html

Knotting the ribbon.

Knotting the ribbon.

Simple knot, then turn and go in opposite direction.

Simple knot.

Then pull it tight, and go in opposite direction.

Then pull it tight, and go in opposite direction.

I just looked at his page, and with a few tries I figured out how he slipped the ribbon through a loop, and then turned it in the opposite direction to do the same again.  Easy!  And it keeps the ribbon nice and tight.  I’m glad I came across his page!

Lavender wands.

Lavender wands.

Lavender wands.

Lavender wands.

I love all of the different colors.  Did I mention how relaxing it is to work with lavender?  🙂  Between the weaving, and the scent of lavender, I enjoy my time working with lavender.   I discovered last year that I could sell the wands, too.  So I’m doing that again this year.  Right now I’m just selling locally, €5 per wand. But who knows, maybe sometime in the near future I’ll be selling globally!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my little lessons on working with lavender!

Dana

Some other flowers among the lavender.

Some other flowers among the lavender.