About this blog

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Wales, United Kingdom
In autumn 2010, my husband Ian and I both quit our jobs, sold our house and left the flatlands of the east for the mountains of Wales. Our goal is to create a more self-sufficient lifestyle in a place we actually like living. Whilst Ian will continue to earn some money as a freelancer, my part of the project is to reduce how much we spend by growing and making as much of what we need as possible. The purpose of this blog is to keep friends updated with how the grand project is progressing, but all are welcome here. If you're not a friend already, well perhaps you might become one.

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Cultivating Plants: Lavender

At our last house, we had a magnificent lavender bush. I could just about reach from one side of it to the other and it took the best part of a day to tidy it up once a year. Before we moved here, in the autumn of 2010, I took a dozen or so heel cuttings, which means pulling a stalk away from the main stem with a little bit of the base, or heel still attached to it. I pushed these stalks into pots of gritty soil, brought them to Wales, and left them sitting in the conservatory, mostly neglected, over winter.

Somewhat to my surprise, by the following spring these twigs had acquired roots, and I planted them out. Not all survived, but I had a few in pots, in reserve, so the dead ones were replaced. I now have six lavender plants along the pathway, three on either side, and one on the terrace.

Lavender (Lavandula augustifolia) half buried on the edge of the terrace

This week I have been trimming off the dead flower stalks and generally tidying up the plants. I've cut the longest stalks back to encourage a bushier, sturdier growth (does this sound like I know what I'm talking about?) and removed some of the thinnest stalks entirely. Hopefully my seven lavender bushes will thrive, and I'll be able to take more cuttings from them. I'd like more lavender bushes under my fruit trees, and a few more along the edge of the terrace. I don't make much use of these plants, but they're decorative, beloved of bees, and I love the smell, too.

Other garden tasks this week
  • Ripping up a few more brambles
  • Clearing moss off a path
  • A bit of weeding, including clearing around the cherry tree then adding ash and compost.
  • Clearing one of the raised beds; evening primroses went to the kitchen, buttercups, feverfew and bittercress went to the terrace, foxgloves went next to the driveway, in the hope that their roots will help stabilise the ground on the downhill side, stones went into a bucket, and the rest went on the compost heap.
Also harvesting this week
Evening primrose roots
Heather, for ale

Also eating
Brown birch boletes (from dried)
Blackberry vinegar
Honeysuckle ale
Knotweed chutney

Also drinking
Blackberry wine
Fir cone vodka (pretty good with tonic water, it turns out)
Hopped ale
Beech leaf wine
Blackcurrant cordial

Cultivated plants challenge summary page here.

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