After 3 long hot humid weeks, we made it through having lost only 4 plants -- 2 Sweets and 2 of the new Hidcote Blue. I had read that Hidcote Blue (a true lavender) wasn’t as resilient as the hybrids, but they were young plants and it was exceptionally humid for the inland San Diego area, so I still have high hopes for the culinary plants. The Grossos are really taking off now with lots of long, beautiful stems and more on the way. And the plants themselves are showing lots of new growth.
I’ve learned a few things over these last months about watering the lavenders. I had read so much about not over watering them and root rot and wet feet -- that I may have gone a little too much to the other extreme. Even during the hottest time I was only watering them once a week. As I was trimming the Sweets however, I noticed more and more stunted and dull blossoms at the same time that I was wondering what in the world was taking the Grossos so long. Well, once we started watering them 2-3 times per week, the blossoms started back up and the bees were happy again. The new field is slowly growing -- again I think the combination of the mud flow and the subsequent hot weather (not to mention the 4 trees Mark and I had to take down and the branches that were falling all over them) may have slowed them down a little, but the hillside is starting to look just a little green now.
(One side note and photo. The cactus in our backyard really put on a show last week -- the big beautiful white blossoms were stunning, if short-lived. They are pretty much gone now -- I (and the bees) enjoyed them while they were here.
On the soap front...we had some delays in getting started but Lauren is rolling now! We’ve got 2 big batches made so we’re just waiting for them to cure. Once the soap is ready I will open the storefront. I will be selling primarily the oatmeal lavender soap and oatmeal rose geranium soaps -- using things we grow -- but Lauren has got some wonderful ideas for her own line and I’m very excited to see what she makes.
Here’s another recipe:
Lavender Lemon Bars (Adapted from the UC Davis Cookbook)
Mix flour and powdered sugar and then mix with butter. Press into bottom of greased 9x13 pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until lightly browned
Mix ingredients together. Pour over baked crust. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 min or until set and slightly browned around the edges. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and cut into bars. Try not to eat the whole thing.
Saturday was our launch of Lauren’s soaps and they were a hit! Especially the lavender oatmeal soaps, which sold out. Looks like Lauren will be busy this week making more soap. I also finished a few of the eye pillows (little satin rectangles filled with flax seed, rice and lavender), which are just wonderful. I’m excited to share these as well and am working to release our store front within the next few weeks.
On the lavender front, the 6 new rows are in -- 3 of Grosso and 3 of Hidcote Giant. Right after we planted the grosso, we had one heck of a rainstorm, complete with some mild mud flows that covered up about a quarter of the new Grossos. Mark and I were able to dig them out the next morning so we only lost 3 plants. This has been an unusually humid summer and I know lavenders don’t like that, so I’m just hoping they all survive.
I have also started a small culinary field in my garden, planting a few small rows of Hidcote and Munstead to start and then adding plants as I clear out more area. I’m really excited about the culinary front because I’ve been collecting recipes. I made gluten-free lemon lavender shortbread with grosso buds (my own recipe) and it was delicious! So delicious, in fact, that my son Noah wolfed them down without any comment about either "gluten-free" or "lavender." The recipe is below if you're interested. I imagine it will be even better when I use culinary lavender. Lemon lavender bars are next!
Gluten-free lemon lavender sandies
Blend butter, sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest, lavender until smooth. Add flour. Beat until dough forms. Refrigerate for one hour. Roll into balls and bake at 325 for about 20 min. Roll in powdered sugar.
Note: this can obviously be made with regular ol' flour as well...just wanted to try the gluten free version myself.
Hello! My name is Pam Reynolds Baker and I am a mom/wife, English teacher, writer, and lavender farmer who lives in Dundee Oregon .