It's been a learning experience doing major planting this year. We have had so much rain which is NOT good for lavender as they don't like wet feet. Another grower in the Ohio area was complaining of plants dying because of too much rain. I guess that's farming and agriculture. You are at the mercy of Mother Nature. I find myself surveying the fields daily. I walk the rows and look plant by plant. Plants that are looking suspect I am trying to determine dead or not dead. However, I see some little green sprouts even on those looking a bit bleak so I give them a chance to rebound. Some I have pulled and replaced. That is disheartening for sure. I am rooting for each one to survive and get sort of depressed when I lose one. Even with weed barrier, the field is still requiring some weeding of grass that pops up around the plants. So this is a near daily activity - survey and pull grass.
The Hidcote is looking overall crappy and I am super bummed. Probably lost half a row of 37 plants. Rabbits? We think so. We have a ton of rabbits on our property. I see them every evening and morning around the lavender fields. I thought rabbits were not supposed to like lavender so I was not worried - but apparently they do like it. I read on a couple of rabbit owner forums some owners give it to them as a treat. I thought GREAT, lavender is rabbit candy!
The same grower complaining of rain in Ohio also was complaining of rabbits eating the lavender. That is what clued me in to what might be happening with the Hidcote. It is the first row on the outside of the bed and near enough tree cover that the rabbits can hop out, munch down, and take cover again quickly if need be. Initially, I thought the Hidcote was dying due to too much rain; but it was odd only the outer row was struggling. I think rabbits are the major culprit in the demise of the first row. Hidcote is also a sweeter English lavender used for culinary purpose. On the opposite side of the field, the outer row is Phenomenal, which is an intermediate lavender and not as sweet. There is tree cover close there but they don't seem to be eating it.
I initially tried vinegar on rags and cotton balls to keep the rabbits out, but that honestly isn't very practical for a plot of over 250 plants to keep reapplying. We thought of putting bags of Irish Springs, but I would have had to cut or shred a LOT of soap. So we got some natural repellent from Family Farm and Home store, which has garlic and vinegar in the ingredients and is safe for pets and people.
I planted a couple of plants I got at Lowe's yesterday as a trial to see if the rabbits would munch in the first row after the repellent was placed. I have some Super Blue and Purple Elegance I got from the Michigan Lavender Festival a few weekends ago sitting in pots. Going to try to put them in the ground in the first row as a replacement for the lost Hidcote if it seems the repellent is working. If the repellent is not keeping them out, we may just have to fence in our field for next year. That will be an undertaking... hoping the repellent works.
As far as our other plants - The Melissa is growing crazy big. The Grosso is doing great. However, I will have to watch how this one overwinters, as it is not as hardy to the cold. The Phenomenal looks pretty phenomenal you could say. Good and strong. The Folgate isn't growing as fast as say the Melissa, but overall looks good and growing well.
I will have to replace some of the Hidcote next season and I also intend to plant bunch of Royal Velvet to fill in the rest of the second plot next year. Hopefully, we will have the Wascly Wabbit situation solved by then. Onto the dog days of summer, hoping we get some warm, dry weather in August.
New Shop Offerings: I have been experimenting making some wreaths. The heart wreath is up on our shop to purchase. I have not listed the Herbal Wreath as of yet and I decided to keep the one pictured to put over my own fireplace. Hopefully I will get it listed in a week or two as I need to get some more supplies. We also partnered with a stained glass studio to bring some lavender suncatchers and spoon rests. I love them and have one hanging on my sliding glass patio door. They are available on our store.