In the heat of high summer, whether you are in Provence or the San Juan Islands of Washington, this time of year is punctuated with the smell of fresh lavender. I inherited a large and healthy lavender hedge at our new home, and for the past few weeks, it's literally been shaking with happy native bees! It's a happy sight, especially as our native pollinator populations are struggling. Plant lavender, they adore it!
My farmer friend, Rosy, came over last evening to teach me how to make lavender wands. She said they were often made by aristocratic ladies long ago, in the summer. Rosy learned it from her family on camping trips in her native Canada. They would pass hours and hours making these. You rub them between your hands to activate that soothing, strong scent of lavender, and they last for years. You can use them for decoration or an adornment for gifts. I think they would be quite handy to have on an office desk when you need a "serenity now!" moment!
The scent is wonderful and has relaxing properties so it's a great project to do on your own in order to wind down, as well as to enjoy with friends and children.
Step 1: Harvest fresh lavender. Make sure it has not fully bloomed into purple flowers, but still looks like little purple pieces of rice. Cut the stems with scissors ...12-16 inches long. You want them to be long while you work with them.
Step 2: Take an UNEVEN amount of stems, maybe 9, and bunch them up so that the top buds are aligned. Tie them together in a bunch, at the bottom of the buds, leaving the rest of your ribbon to work with.
Step 3: Turn your bouquet upside down and pull the long stems over the buds to make a "cage" around the buds.
Step 4: Using the ribbon you tied, beginning at the top of the "cage", thread the ribbon in and out of the stems, carefully, making sure you don't miss any stems. Pull it taut as you go and work your way down to the bottom of the cage area. It will take a while!
Step 5: Tie the stems together under the cage and at the bottom of the wand. Cut the stems at the bottom so that they are even.
Your first few will look like a mess, trust me! It just takes practice and it's a good kind of tedious. A lovely way to pass time on a summer evening with a glass of wine, if I may.... And I'll be longing for this in the cold dark winter, when all I can do is smell the wand and remember honeysuckles and dragonflies and dry native grasses!