It is the end of November and we find ourselves taking lavender cuttings, not just any lavender but the strongest in terms of essential oil Lavandin Grosso and Super, and Lavander Agustifolia B7. Not just one or two, we have an order for 1,500 lavender, maybe twice over. It is the first time we have ever done such numbers as we do not sell that sort of quantity on our markets stands of anything but tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, parsley and coriander.
The reason we have such a large order is that our friends Manu and Christophe from La Cabane du Berger feel it is time to renew their lavender fields. Growing lavander for essential oil is slighly differet than growing it in your garden, the plants productive life is between six and eight years, while garden lavender, if pruned well will continue to flower for ten years or more. this also accounts for the varieties, Grosso and Super are crosses of agustafolia and aspic lavender, and agustifolia is, in terms of essential oil yield one of the highest. French lavander, ironically what the French called English lavender, stoechas, has an essential il yield of around 0.2% of flower weight, where as the three varieties we are working with give 1.6 to 1.8, quite a substantial difference.
The problem is that now is not the best time to be doing cuttings, the plants in Winter are basically dormant. The ideal time for tip cuttings is early Summer, and heel cuttings mid Summer. Nevertheless we did a combination of heel and tip cuttings, both hard wood and soft wood. We will keep them moist in the poly tunnel and see what happens. Reports from around the web are that Winter cuttings are not naturally any less effective, they just take up to three months to put down roots. What ever the result we will be passing chez Many and Christophe next Spring for the next 1;000 or so.