One good reason for having a generous number of lavender plants in your garden is that you won’t have to sacrifice the impact of the flower display outside by cutting stems for drying inside. The reason for this is that while lavender stems cut after flowering has finished can (should) still be stripped of their flowers for pot pourris, sachets, culinary use etc, the best dried lavender comes from stems cut when flowering is at its height.
Cut the stems to just above where they join the plant, bunch together (around 12 stems to a bunch) and tie firmly (the stems will shrink as they dry) at the base with an elastic band, string or twine. The bunches should then be hung upside down somewhere dark, dust-free and well ventilated. If you are lucky enough to have an airing cupboard with sufficient height, you’re quids in. If you don’t have somewhere that meets these requirements exactly, a compromised location will have to do – but avoid anywhere in full sun (like a curtain rail) or humid (like a bathroom).
As soon as they’re fully dried store the dried lavender in well-sealed glass, pottery or ceramic containers. This will preserve both fragrance and flavour as the essential oil (that part of the lavender that makes this so worthwhile) won’t be able to dissipate.
Almost Instant Lavender Potpourri
Making a traditional potpourri involves adding a fixative (generally orris root) to the dried ingredients and added essential oil(s). This is to preserve and lengthen the scent contained in the main ingredients.
However, if you use a fragrance oil instead of an essential oil, the fixing process can be bypassed…
Simply strip your dried lavender of its flowers and leaves; place both in a plastic bag; add a few drops of lavender fragrance oil; shake well and leave for a couple of hours. Your potpourri will then be ready.