A day with Lavender

"One of my favorite parts of making plant medicine is definitely harvesting. There’s just something serene and grounding about working outdoors, being amongst the plants, sitting with them, smelling them, feeling them, communing with them, intimately, as I collect the medicine they offer, tending to both their needs and my own. Truly a symbiotic relationship and a labor of love. And one of my absolute favorite plants to harvest is lavender. Often, I see people harvesting lavender by grabbing up entire handfuls and cutting the whole bundle beneath where they’ve grabbed. And often, this method ends up also cutting back much of the new growth and young buds that are on their way to becoming your next harvest, not to mention that this is the time of year the bees are going to town on the lavender and the last thing you want to do is upset, or drive away the bees. My lavender patch has, literally, entire battalions of bees working on it constantly. I personally prefer to harvest my lavender when 1/4 - 1/3 of the buds, on each stalk, have opened and are in full bloom and the rest are still closed but full and about to bloom any day. So the minute those first few little blossoms open and I notice the bees start going to work I know it’s time for me to do the same. Instead of grabbing whole handfuls and cutting indiscriminately I sit down and get right in there with them, hand clipping each stalk one by one, leaving all the new growth, to ensure a continuous harvest, and always leaving enough for the bees. Spending the day becoming infused with the scent of lavender, feeling the coastal breeze while listening to the buzzing of the bees around me is a deeply relaxing and meditative experience, for me, at least. No machinery or profesional harvesting equipment, just a basket and a blade. And the pay off is well worth the work.

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