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ICEWINE CELEBRATION!

While a visit to historic Niagara-on-the-Lake this January for our annual Icewine Celebration will not be possible, we still plan to pay homage this January to this rare and exquisite gift from Mother Nature. Icewine propelled Canada onto the world’s wine stage nearly three decades ago and has become inextricably tied to our winemaking heritage as it continues to garner global acclaim. All month long, participating Niagara-on-the-Lake wineries will be offering exceptional Icewine themed wine packages for direct delivery and virtual experiences that can be enjoyed at home. We are also declaring January 1st ‘Open your Icewine Day’ when you toast the New Year with an Icewine Bellini or add to your favourite brunch recipes like French Toast or Belgium Waffles.

Information reposted from wineriesofniagaraonthelake.com

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How to Prune Lavender

Do your lavender plants look like this? They can look beautiful all year round with some pruning. Even in the winter lavender plants can be a beautiful shrub. Aside from lavender liking all day sun and free draining soil, if there is one tip you can walk away with today it is prune, prune, prune.

Lavender is pretty low maintenance, but needs to be tended to 3 times a year. 

1. Spring time. Trim and brush any dead and dry branches.  
2. Mid to late July. As the flowers start to loose their colour or shrivel, use your hedge clippers and trim it into a bush like shape.  
3. Mid to late September. Get all the flowers off, giving it shape and getting it ready for winter. 

If you have a woody or straggly plant it is never too late to trim. Trim the plant in stages. Start with taking it down 1/3 of its size this year, and than again next year. 

Tips.

- The quicker you get those flowers off, the better chance you have for a second flowering.
- Trim your bush 8” to 12” off the ground for a heathy plant. 

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Making Sachet & Dried Bouquets

One of the biggest questions we get is how to make a garden lavender plant into a sachet or a dried bouquet. Both of these can be prepared the same way and used in different applications.

The objective is to harvest at the perfect time so that when it is thoroughly dried, all the essential oils are sealed inside the floret. With that being said, the most important step is harvest time. If you harvest too early, the florets will be undeveloped, and the stems will be limp. If you harvest too late, the tiny flowers will fall out of the florets leaving the vessel empty. The ideal harvest time is before the flowers pop out of the flower bud. Depending on how early spring starts, this is generally mid to late June. It is a concise window for harvesting. Once harvested at the correct time, the florets can last for years.

After determining when your flowers are ready to harvest, the next step is to bunch the flowers together and cut them with scissors or pruning shears. There are 100’s of different types of lavender, and each having an extra stem length. The method to judge how far to cut down the stem is to look at the plant and to cut 1” to 2” above where the hardwood starts. This will allow the plant to have enough growth for a second flowering. A young lavender plant will only produce 1 to 2 bouquets, but a fully matured lavender plant will produce 8 to 10 boutiques. As you are cutting your bouquet, it is a good time to prune. Giving you plant around, bush shape.

Now you have a beautiful fresh-cut lavender bouquet, so let us get drying. Hanging the bouquet upside down in a dark, cool, and well-ventilated area is ideal. Hanging it upside down will help keep the stems nice and straight, creating a superior bouquet. Leaving it in a dark area will help retain the boutique's purple colour, and the breeze will prevent it from molding. Adding a sheet directly underneath the hanging bouquet will catch any flower buds that may fall. This process can take 7 to 10 days for it to be thoroughly dried. If you cannot hang the bouquet upside down, the lavender wands can be spaced out on a piece of paper. The bouquet will be flat on one side, but if using it for sachets, this will not matter.

The best indication that your bouquet is fully dried is by touch. If the leaves feel brittle or the florets fall off the stem when disturbed, your bouquet is ready to put into your favourite vase to enjoy. When making a sachet there is one more step to prepare. Simply run your fingers gently along the stem to take off all the lavender florets, then stuff into your favourite sachet. For the leftover stems, try putting them in a bbq to smoke meats or in a bonfire as kindling. In the end, no waste. A little tip, if you find your lavender sachet or bouquet does not have any smell, give it a squeeze to refresh. Squeezing it will help crack the florets, releasing the hidden essential oils into the air.

Whatever method you decide to use to dry your lavender bouquet or sachet, there is one fact not to be forgotten. Your house is going to smell amazing. What a great way to destress and calm the house.

By admin

Supporting Local @bracebridge_bia

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One of the most awesome destinations

thethompsontrotters's profile picture

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The perfect getaway or day trip for anyone!⁣

Growing up so close to the Niagara region meant constant trips to NOTL (even as a kid)! It is such a quaint little area and we will forever want to retire there! There are so many fun and enjoyable things to do like visiting wineries, walking the beautiful strip, hiking along the river, visiting different farms, the list goes on and on! This guide covers:⁣

- Best wineries ?⁣
- Best restaurants ?⁣
- Best things to do in the area ??‍♂️⁣
- Best tours & biking tours ? ⁣
- Best places to shop local ?⁣

If any of my local friends know of any wineries I missed, send me a message! Hope you enjoy NOTL as much as we do! ⁣

WWW.THETHOMPSONTROTTERS.COM⁣⁣⁣
(LINK IN BIO @thethompsontrotters )