There are many different types of lavender. It depends on how you want to use it, but I like English Lavender (pictured below) and think it's the best for drying and giving as gifts. I dry the leaves as well as the buds because the leaves smell just as good! Here is a simple way to make a dried bouquet demonstrated by my 4 year old!
This is for making a more casual, natural, country style dried bouquet as opposed to a tight, very uniform bouquet. Both are beautiful so it just depends on how you'd like to use it.
|"Hello little honey bee. May we pick your lavender?"|
|Step 1: Cutting The Lavender|
Cutting The Lavender
Cut the stems long enough to give yourself some room at the bottom to gather and tie. You can always cut off the excess once it's tied together if you feel it's too long. It gets bulky towards the top where the flower buds are (depending on how big you want it) so the longer you can get the stem the better. I also remove all of the leaves before I hang it because I think it looks prettier that way. Whatever you prefer.
Removing The Leaves:
An easy way to remove the leaves quickly is to pinch the stem at the base of the flower buds with one hand and with the other gloved hand, run your fingers firmly down the stem to remove leaves being careful not to break the stem. Spread the leaves onto a jelly roll pan for drying. (Someday I'll have pictures of that, but I'm sure you get the idea.) You can cover it loosely with cheese cloth or parchment paper, etc. to keep the dust out and stick it under your bed to dry for a while. Your room will have subtle hints of lavender while it's drying.
|Step 2: Gathering your bunch for drying.|
Gathering Your Bunch
Once you've decided how big you'd like your bunch match up all of the ends evenly. It works best if the stems are of slightly different lengths so your bunch will "fall" out. Remove any stems that do not look right and make sure all of the buds are fresh. Pick off any flowers that might be dead and brown.
|Step 3: Tie your bunch.|
Tying Your Bunch Together
You can use almost anything to tie it; string, ribbon, rubber band, twist ties, etc. I like to use flower wire that you can find in the floral arrangement section of your favorite department store or dollar store. Use wire cutters and be careful if you are having the kids help you because it can be sharp on the ends. I like using wire to tie it because makes it tighter (great for large bunches like the one pictured here) and you can also twist the ends of the excess wire together to make a hanging loop. (Like I said, someday I'll have a pic of that too.) After you secure it with the flower wire you can then cover it up with a decorative ribbon or whatever you want to use.
Hang it upside down until you feel it's totally dry. If it's damp outside I'd bring it in the house so it doesn't mold over time. It can then be placed in a vase as a dried bouquet or keep it hanging upside down like this for a more country farm look. The buds will stay purple and the stems will stay green and it will smell very nice for a long time.
|A Natural Lavender Bouquet by Coco Cana|
These little fresh lavender bouquets make beautiful gifts for teachers and staff at your child's school or daycare. We chose to give these as fresh bouquets, so since they were pretty small I tied them together with twist ties then wrapped a wet paper towel around the stems to keep them moist. I covered that with a small piece of tin foil to keep it wet and to keep the drips inside. To keep it all together I used ribbon to tie it. I explained to the teachers and office ladies that they can put them in water to keep it fresh and then if they want they can remove everything down to the twist tie to hang it upside down as a dried bouquet. (There are about 5-6 here so they look bigger than they really are.)
|Small bouquets make great gifts for teachers and staff at your child's school!|
P.S. Our beautiful, vibrant lavender bushes were cut down by the guys we hired to put in sprinklers for us this spring. I was horrified when I came home and saw all 5 of my HUGE bushes completely hacked down to tiny, bare nubs sticking out of the dirt with little bony fingers reaching up to me as if it were begging to be saved. Our gardener told us they would grow back no problem...but they never grew back. Not even a single tiny little leaf. I mean where is the Lorax when you need him? Finally after several months of looking at dead lavender bush bones my husband convinced me to let him pull them out and start from scratch. The original bushes had been there FOREVER. I was pretty sad but not as sad as my lil "Purple Girl." So our new crop of English Lavender is well on it's way joined by the French. We'll see which kind we like the best when they start to bloom.
Lesson learned: Never cut your lavender bushes back all the way!
They are NOT rose bushes and they will not grow back.
|"Excuse me, did you cut down that tree?" -The Lorax|
|RIP my poor, sad bushes. ;-(|