Pruning lavender

This spring, I planted 4 lavender plants in the section between the sidewalk and the street in front of our house. That space used to be covered with concrete, but a tree root had grown too big and pushed up the concrete both in this space and in the sidewalk. The city came out to fix it for us and gave us the choice as to whether we wanted them to put new concrete in the middle space or leave it filled with dirt so that we could plant something. We thought planting something would be prettier, so we chose that. But we ended up keeping the space empty for several months before getting our act together. We like to take things slowly with outdoor renovations (or any renovations, really) because we’d rather get things right the first time. 
So we decided to put lavender there, and my neighbor mentioned that they were selling French lavender at our local nursery. Perfect! So finally, before our trip to France, I cleaned out as many rocks as I could from the space, dug some holes and planted 4 lavender plants. They thrived there (thanks to our neighbor who watered the plants for us while we were gone!). 
Mid-late summer is about the time to prune lavender back, though. This is to avoid the plant from getting tough and woody. According to my gardening books, it’s most important to prune the lavender in the first three years of it’s life. If you don’t, the plant wont survive future pruning well and new growth will have trouble developing on the old wood. 
I had never pruned lavender before, though, so I consulted my good friend Google. I found an awesome video by a lavender farmer in Oregon who walked me through how to prune a lavender plant in it’s first, second and third year. She was so awesome that I’m going to embed the video here for any interested parties (note: this is not me, nor was it created by me. It was created by Sarah at http://www.lavenderatstonegate.com/  If you’re interested in lavender, check out her website. It’s very informative.)

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any “before” pictures of the lavender plants. Too bad because they were really beautiful. It’s tough to see that go, but according to Sarah (above), a correctly pruned lavender plant can last for 20 years, whereas an unpruned plant will need to be replaced much more often. Tough love, lavender.

Lavender after:

Along with a curious little boy who grabbed his walker and toddled over to the door one morning in his PJs. It’s becoming a summer morning tradition, and I don’t mind one bit. 
The benefit of pruning your lavender is having your hands and house smell amazing! We now have several bouquets hanging to dry in our pantry, along with a beautiful bouquet in a vase on the table. I really need to plant more flowers in our garden for making bouquets. 

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