Today a friend is visiting Whidbey Island, and hearing her talk about her planned visit reminded me of my dad, as he lives nearby. You might recall that last summer I went 'to tea' with Dad and he enjoyed asking the tea hostess so many questions about the food and tea service. I simply think he enjoyed the attention! Afterwards we visited the Lavender Wind Farm and enjoyed the abundance of lavender in late bloom. Alma is shown in the picture as she walks amongst rows of lavender and orange poppies. In another field, huge yellow sunflowers complimented the lavender in bloom. Fog from the sea was wafting through the fields as we were there, creating a surreal appearance that added to the tranquility of it all.
Lavender has many uses. In the late summer, mix lavender flowers with drinks like iced tea or lemonade for a refreshing beverage. Or sprinkle it's blossoms onto favorite desserts like peach shortcake or chocolate mousse. Bunches of late summer lavender can be gathered and dried, then placed in a mesh bag that can be tucked into a lingerie drawer where it's fragrance can be enjoyed each time you open the drawer. It doesn't matter if the flowers are past their prime if you are using lavender in this way; the fragrance is just as nice. Bunches of lavender can be gathered fresh and placed in copper pots or ceramic vases. Don't worry about adding water; instead allow them to droop a bit (it adds character) and let them dry. You'll have a pretty arrangement that lasts all year long. Sometimes people aren't sure when the best time is to harvest lavender. I think that ANY time is the best time, but I admit to being crazy about lavender! Most people would say that lavender is best harvested when one-third to one-half of the spike is in bloom.
So, happy travels on the island, friend who's so fortunate to be there today! I hope you enjoy your visit and create many memories of sunshine and flowers --- times that will cheer you in the rainy days of winter to come.
And to Dad: I look forward to tea with you again soon!