Monday, 18 August 2008

A problem harvest.

I have finally morphed into a true Brit endlessly looking out of the window, sighing at the rain, clicking my tongue as I shake my head with a melancholy air. Oh I am a true delight to be around I can assure you. I switch from sighing to whining...loudly. I'm not sure about the rest of you, but we have had so much rain here.....right, enough; I will stop and get a grip before I drive any poor souls who may have ventured this far away. On to other things.

Ok, this does involve a rain-filled discussion, but bear with me. Cornwall is renowned for being slightly ahead of the rest of the country in the plant stakes - it is the mild climate you see, the same one that brings much rain, and usually I start harvesting herbs for drying from July onwards. This year has been tricky, more than tricky, as I have patiently waited for the lavender to flower, the oregano and sweet marjorams to bloom, the myriad other herbs strewn around our increasingly wild and windswept garden to blossom so that I can begin one of my favourite tasks of cutting them. The eventual aim is for them to be used in various mixes in such things as these Sweet Dreams hearts....

or these embroidered sachets...

or even this Babbit filled with soothing lavender and chamomile...

Needless to say, the harvest has been poor - slow to reach that perfect point of flower with the wet weather and high humidity rotting much of the potential harvest in the meantime. I always pick my flowers in the late morning where possible, the reason being quite simple in that too late in the day runs the risk of the powerful essential oils having evaporated and too early could mean they are damp from the dew, thus running the possibility of botrytis (grey mould) developing in the drying process. On the one of about three days which were not rain drenched this holiday I finally decided to cut them and be hanged, hoping that the meagre harvest would be dry enough and not overblown, but not prepared to wait any longer.

(lavender & chamomile sachets)

My hope is that by cutting them back I will at least ensure a subsequent late flowering as in other years. If nothing else, the plants no longer look at miserable with that awful shattered appearance that torrential rain causes. I do feel rather as though I have started putting the garden to bed for the year though. Hey ho, perhaps the sun will come out tomorrow...sing along now!

Bye for now,
Pipany xx


  1. Your sweet smelling things all look very beautiful.

  2. Gosh your handwork is lovely. No let-up in the rain here either - I have 'seen' Mags for days as the hills are hidden in the mist and rain. I was thinking of you today as I haven't been feeling very 'habby' but it's impossible not to smile when you think of that word!

  3. Such pretty scented things - and I think it's extra special to use the more unusual stuffing herbs like chamomile and marjoram along with the lavender. I love those little embroidered sachets - they're beautiful.

  4. Love the sachets and wish we were nearer. I have lavender in flower and would love to contribute to your gorgeous sachets.

  5. My lavender looks like its been 'attacked' as well ...

  6. As always, some beautiful designs. I wish these pc's were aroma vision or whatever!!

    Yes, the harvest has been a problem so far, we have cut 2 fields but have some way to go yet before we can breath a sigh of relief.

    CJ xx

  7. Know the feeling on the wet herbs front. My herb gardens have certainly been well washed this summer. I have just continued to harvest and everything has kept coming back. Been drying them all above the aga this year as too damp to dry them in HQ.
    This blasted rain must let up some time. Keep up the good work.
    Karon x

  8. Hi Pipany,
    when i became a gardener i noticed the weather so much more, sometimes welcoming the rain, sometimes praying for sunshine. The summer has been short and just strange really. I do hope you have managed to salvage some herbs and that they dry well for you.
    I love the idea of a chammomile in a sachet.
    wishing you a brighter week.
    love ginny xx

  9. I am back from my blogging break! And loving your embroidered sachets! Im just getting into cross stitch and hopefully that will lead to embroidery too. Never done it before though!

  10. as you know i am at the other end of the country to you......
    so many mornings i have looked out of the window and turned to Stephen and moaned that it was going to be another too hot day!!!!!
    here on the N.E coast of Scotland the Summer has been really good, but i moved North to ESCAPE the heat....!
    hope the sunshine drifts South to warm you and your pretty garden
    speak soon
    t x

  11. Dear Pipany,

    Your products are so gorgeous, keeping this in mind for Christmas that will not be long now.!

    My son has just returned home again from Cornwall, do believe he went to Padstow, it was his first visit, his partner's mother lives there, very picturesque but said it was disappointing weather sadly. I hope to visit Cornwall myself one day.

    Love the idea of Chamomile in sachets Pips.

  12. Pipany, all your sachets look so lovely. The rain still hasn't let up. I've become a boring person who does nothing but look ouside, sigh, and exclaim it's raining again. Need to get a grip!! Hope cutting back the herbs will bring on some new growth, and we'll get some sunshine to help it along. Thinking of you. Diana xx

  13. It is intriguing seeing bits of fabric that I think I recognise!!

  14. Gorgeous and beautiful things there, dearie. I hope you manage to get a reasonable harvest eventually, mine has gone over a bit or else I'd send you all mine, may be worth a try though, am going to clip it tomorrow, weather permitting.

  15. an award is waiting for you over at mine. x

  16. Hi there - come over to my blog - I have something for you. Tracey.

  17. I totally agree about the weather - today we have gone from glorious sunshine to it pouring down. Love your smelly things - especially the hearts
    lisa x