Lavender lovers came from near and far for the 7th annual ACHS Lavender Open House held at the College campus in SW Portland on July 17. Participants were treated to a series of lavender-themed workshops that ranged from the practical to the scientific, including making natural lavender products to differentiating lavender varieties.
As the culmination of the workshop activities, participants headed into the ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden to harvest their own lavender Lavandula angustifolia for drying and making into lavender wands.
Look for a video of the day’s events on ACHStv, the ACHS YouTube channel, soon.
In the meantime, here is some information about making your own lavender wands. If you live in the Portland area, harvest your own fresh lavender at the ACHS campus Monday-Friday, 8:30 am-5:30 pm. If you’re not in Portland, Oregon, find a U-Pick in your area at pickyourown.org.
- 13 stems of fresh lavender (or any odd number larger than 13)–each at least 12-inches tall.
- 3 yards of satin or other ribbon, ¼-inches wide.
- Patience… allow yourself about 40 minutes to do your first wand. Be very forgiving of yourself… like all skills, this one improves with practice.
1. Strip all the leaves from the stem. The suppleness of the stem is important to the success of wand making. Harvest the lavender early in the day, and make sure that the flowers are not damp.
2. Line up the bottom of the flower heads and tie them gently together with the end of the 3 yards of ribbon.
3. Turn the bundle upside down and gently bend each stem down around the blossom heads. You can facilitate this step by scoring the underside of the stem section that is being bent with your fingernail. When all of the blossoms are “in the cage of stems”, the long end of the ribbon should be pulled out of the cage, the short end tucked inside.
4. Line up all of the stems evenly around the blossoms, making sure that they do not overlap.
5. Start to weave the ribbon under and over the stems. Gently pull on the ribbon to make sure the weave is tight. The most difficult part of this process is in the first two rows of the weaving. On the second row you should be going under the stems that you had gone over on the first row.
6. Continue weaving until you have covered all the flowers. You can use a stem of lavender to push any buds that stick out back into the weave or rub them off. Wrap the ribbon around the “neck” of the wand and tie a slip knot.
7. Trim the stems to the same length and continue to wrap the stems until you reach the end. Use a rubber band to secure the ribbon to the end of the stem. After the stem has dried and shrunk, you can rewrap the ribbon and glue the ends.
>> To learn more about lavender, or herbal medicine or aromatherapy classes, visit the American College of Healthcare Sciences website.