Summer is drawing to a close and with that comes the annual pruning of the lavender bush. It must be six years since I dumped it as a small sprigling in a hollow wall brick, to take its chances and it has thrived. The bees turn it into a busy, humming factory and continue to try to gather pollen even when the flowers are completely over. Which is why I leave pruning until the very end of the season.
This year I have pruned back harder than ever, in an effort to make it a little smaller and bushier. It now looks rather rugged and shorn, but there are tiny leaf nubs emerging. I cut right back to the tiniest ones, as near to the main stems as possible and remove as much deadwood as I can find.
There has been a bumper harvest. Each year I bring it into the house to dry in a basket, and use it as natural kindling when we begin to use the wood burner. Every time I light the stems on a chilly winter's night, the smoke smells faintly of hot, herb scented summer days and I remember the sunny, buzzing sound of foraging bees.