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Welcome! As "Annie in Austin" I blog about gardening in Austin, TX with occasional looks back at our former gardens in Illinois. My husband Philo & I also make videos - some use garden images as background for my original songs, some capture Austin events & sometimes we share videos of birds in our garden. Come talk about gardens, movies, music, genealogy and Austin at the Transplantable Rose and listen to my original songs on YouTube. For an overview read Three Gardens, Twenty Years. Unless noted, these words and photos are my copyrighted work.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Making A Lavender Stick

Making a Lavender Stick was written by Annie in Austin for the Annie's Addendum Blog

Welcome if you came here from the May 6th "Thought Pops" post at the Transplantable Rose!

Lavender Sticks are a sweet little thing to make. I read about them years ago in a chapter of Elizabeth Lawrence's book Through The Garden Gate. If you can find the original version her narrative is enchanting. Here's an approximation of what Miss Lawrence said:

The sticks must be made immediately after cutting, or the stalks may break rather than bend. Cut stalks when the first flower opens - they need to be a least 8 inches long but can be as long as 18 inches. (What I grow is Sweet Lavender, which has longer flower heads than some of the other fragrant varieties. The shape and length of the stick will be slightly different with each variety.)

You'll need an even multiple of an odd number. That could be 14 which is 2 X 7, or 18 which is twice 9, 22 which is 2 X 11, etc. If you have enough you could cut 30 which is twice 15.

You also need a few feet of 1/4 inch baby ribbon - or whatever narrow ribbon you can get. Lay the stalks together with the tips of some spikes sticking up beyond the others, making a flowering head about 6 inches in length. Tie one end of the baby ribbon tightly around the stems just below the lowest flower. Then you will make the ribbon and stalks into a basket shape by gently bending the stems back over the flower heads, first weaving the ribbon under two stalks, then weaving it over the next two, and so on....going around and around until you've made the stems into a basket enclosing the flower heads within the ribbon/stick weave. Take your time, slide the ribbon gently and keep it all flat. The size of ribbon, length of stem and closeness of weave will combine to make each stick look a little different. The number of stalks you use will also make them look quite different - 14 is a very slender stick. When you've woven past the flower heads you can tie off the end and neatly clip the stem ends. I like to tie the end of the ribbon into a loop that can be used to hang the Lavender Stick at nose-level.

Don't worry if the technique sounds confusing - it becomes apparent once you have the ribbon and stalks in your hands. The resulting little baskets of lavender used to be hung on clothes hangers or layered with sheets in linen closets. As the lavender dries the weave keeps the flowers inside.

I like the Lavender Sticks for themselves, but am just as pleased with the connection to Miss Lawrence, the garden writer we all love.

Making a Lavender Stick was written by Annie in Austin for the Annie's Addendum Blog


Carol said...

I didn't realize that lavender sticks, which I know as "lavender wands" have a connection to Elizabeth Lawrence! I must look up that chapter. I've made these before, but it has been awhile. I still have some of them, though they've long ago lost their scent.

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Entangled said...

I've seen instructions for making lavender wands that made me think it was too fussy and I couldn't do it. Your instructions make me anxious for the lavender to bloom - will definitely try this!

Annie in Austin said...

How cool that you've made them too, Carol - don't you love how your hands smell like lavender when you're done?

Thank you, Entangled - always wanted to write about the lavender sticks. I'm glad this post makes sense to you!


Blackswamp_Girl said...

Okay, these make my little tied "bunches" look boring in comparison. I definitely need to try them--thanks for the instructions, Annie!