This year the lavender flowers grew in hearty through June, as our infamous April showers brought us flowers! At the start of July, our annual You-Pick Lavender event started, bringing with it the spirit of summer!
For our annual You-Pick event, ACHS opens the College and Apothecary Shoppe doors to the public to come and enjoy cutting their own lavender bunches. We supply scissors, gloves, and ribbon! Over the years, we’ve taught hundreds of members of the community (now our friends) how, when, and where to harvest, and we’ve shared our love of lavender by teaching our urban neighbors how to enjoy their therapeutic flowers (which I will share with you later in this blog post!).
At the end of the season, which came in late July this year, we harvested the rest of the lavender lingering in the ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden, which must be pruned annually for the success and health of the plant.
This year, I was ready to harvest! Alongside Melissa Naylor, ACHS Production Assistant, we began before the sun rose too high in the sky, bringing with it the mid-day heat.
By 11:30 a.m. harvest day, we had been sweating and cutting bunches for more than two hours. We filled 8 buckets of flowers already with bunches the size of a large handful. The bees were buzzing, friendly and courteous, as we greet them with appreciation and acknowledged their presence.
By 1:00 p.m. that day, we had filled our buckets with at least 100 bunches of lavender! The sweet smell, the sweat in the day’s warmth, and the buzzing of the bees in the ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden created a calming, peaceful daze over me. Melissa was grateful for the wonderful scent, too, and was enamored by the friendly bees. She said, “What’s better than harvesting lavender flowers on a warm summer day?” I had no reply.
With our buckets of lavender in-hand, and our annual You-Pick event over, we still wanted to make sure that everyone who wanted the comfort and ease of lavender got the chance to enjoy a fresh bunch or two! So, this year, we set up a table to spread the word about this wonderful plant and maybe spread some joy while we were at it. Melissa and I had help from Anya Matson, a current student who is involved in a work-study program here at ACHS. She helped set-up our tables and lavender, and helped us promote Outside In.
ACHS President Dorene Petersen generously decided to make our lavender harvest and sale even more of a community event by donating all proceeds to the local charity, Outside In. She also pledged for ACHS to match the sales! Outside In is a local service agency in the Portland area, which works to address the holistic health needs of our increasing homeless and/or struggling youth—a cause I was happy to support.
(See photo at right: ACHS President Dorene Petersen (left) with Kelly Anderson, Outside In Development & Communications Director (center), and me).
While we were talking with people at the sale, we sensed such gratitude; they were getting something in return for their donation to such a worthy cause. Everyone’s spirits were lifted when they knew they were helping someone in need, and in turn, our spirits were lifted for witnessing the love from our community members.
Our lavender sale was short and sweet. We raised a nice donation for Outside In. But, it’s not the amount that mattered; it was the heart of the people who wanted to donate. (They also have some lovely lavender spread around their homes! Keep reading to the end of this blog post for tips on how to use lavender flowers in your home!)
Once our sale was finished, we decided to distribute the rest of the bountiful bunches to our community. The ACHS campus is located near several businesses that promote natural wellness with a holistic approach, so we decided we needed to meet these business owners, thank them for their work, and share our lovely lavender flowers. This time, ACHS’s Financial Aid Assistant Stephanie North was by my side as we hit the pavement with our buckets of lavender flowers!
Making our way through the neighborhood, we passed out coupons for 20% off at the Apothecary Shoppe College Store, encouraging folks who didn’t know about the Apothecary Shoppe to check us out. After all, we are tucked into a neighborhood, so many of our community members didn’t even know we were here! We helped spread our message of holistic wellness among the community, encouraging those who did not know about us to take a walk through our campus Botanical Teaching Garden on their lunch breaks to relax.
You can browse our wonderful selection of herbs, which have been sourced from all over the world and hand-selected by our College President, Dorene Petersen, any time you want online here.
Now that we’re well into September, the ACHS Botanical Teaching Garden is changing. Pretty soon it will be time to harvest the hops, which comes with their own fun adventures! But what doesn’t change with the seasons is our love of holistic health … and talking with you about all things wellness-related!
This summer, we lived our mission, and spread the message of peace, giving of oneself, loving, learning, and growing: one lavender bunch at a time.
We’d encourage you to do the same, to keep learning with ACHS and growing in the field of holistic wellness to further your career and pass your love for holistic heath and wellness onto your families and friends.
As promised, here are a few of our favorite ways to use lavender in your home!
How to Use Lavender Around the House
Lavender oil Lavandula angustifolia is used extensively to fragrance soaps, and it can be used around the home as an effective deodorizer and air freshener. Lavender pillows and sachets are wonderful in cupboards and chests of drawers, and will keep away moths and other insects while imparting a fresh scent. Lavender oil can be sprayed from an atomizer or left in a saucer to help repel ants and insects, and to disinfect the air. (Organic Lavender Flowers and Organic Lavender Essential Oil are available in the Apothecary Shoppe).
Cooking with Lavender: Honey Bunches
- 3 cups quick oats
- 2 cups flaked coconut
- 1 cup unbleached flour
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 cup butter
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 teaspoon dried lavender Lavandula angustifolia
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine oats, coconut, and flour in a large mixing bowl. In a heavy sauce pan bring butter, honey, sugar and lavender to a boil. Pour over dry ingredients and mix well. Drop dough by the spoonful into muffin tins, making each one about 1-2 inches high. Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden, being careful NOT to overbake. Cool in the tins for 15 minutes before removing. These cookies store well and are excellent for care packages.
Give these recipes a try and let us know how they work for you! Have favorite lavender recipes you’d like to share? Be sure to leave a comment! We’re always looking for new recipes to try.