The lavender usually starts to come into flower in June. Once the flowers are in colour there are a variety of ways in which we use the lavender.
When the plants are fully in colour we start cutting the lavender for fresh bunches. These give a wonderful fresh aroma to any room, as well as superb uplifting summer colour.
As the first couple of flowers start to open on any one stem, we start to gather bunches for drying. These are hung in the dark so colours do not fade during drying, and to keep the stems straight. Air is gently circulated through the stems to ensure complete drying of bunches.
All Lavender contains Essential oils, which help to give them their characteristic scent.
To harvest the plants we have a purpose built machine. This is designed to cut the hedge neatly into a perfect dome. The harvester travels along the rows and picks up the sides of the plant so that all of the stems are vertical. The heads and stems are then neatly cut, drawn in the machine, and collected in a trailer following behind.
The plant itself falls back down and is now cut into the perfect dome. Harvesting not only gathers the crop, but also prunes the plants ready for next year. This pruning is essential the health of the plant.
This pruning is also essential for plants in the garden. Cutting back to just above woody material ensures that the plant will stay dense and bushy, which in turn will give more flowers the following season. This also prolongs the life of the plant, and stop, the plant opening up and going ‘woody’.
It takes around an hour to collect one trailer load of five tonnes of plant material.