DIY: Lavender Wall Basket

Make your own basket with fragrant lavender stems.

| February/March 1994

The graceful, flexible stems of lavender are suitable for many different kinds of basket construction beyond the usual lavender wands, but they have some interesting limitations. On the one hand, the stems are straight, unbranched, and fairly uniform. On the other hand, they are rather brittle and weak, and don’t lend themselves to tight weave structures that require major manipulation or that must bear a lot of weight. In making this wall basket, I also had to consider the buds: if I stripped them off to use in potpourris, the remaining straight stems would be fine for a tighter, more utilitarian container, but the buds were so lovely, both in color and texture, that I wanted to retain and make the most of them. That meant choosing a shape and technique that would show off the buds, and one that I could work without breaking them.

I started with a bundle of cut lavender, about eighty stems. Shaping and twining with raffia fanned the bouquet into a sort of airy sconce that can be used purely for decoration or to hold a bouquet or even a handful of potpourri in tissue.

Because my lavender was dried, it required soaking and mellowing to increase pliability. Fresh lavender can be used while it’s still naturally flexible. In either case, lavender is a pleasure to work with for the fragrance it emits when handled.

1. Preparation

If using fresh lavender, you may eliminate these preparatory steps and proceed with construction of the basket. Dried stems must be soaked so they can be manipulated without breaking. Fill a tall jar with warm water and stand the tied bundle of lavender in it for 20 to 30 minutes. It may be necessary to weight the bundle so that as much of the stem’s length as possible is submerged while the flower heads remain dry.

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