I've been drying lavender lately, because frankly, it's such a handy plant that it really is a crime NOT to. My aromatherapy pillow has lost its lavender smell, but all I need are some dried petals in a bottle next to the bed and tralala! Problem solved.
The process is easy-peasy. Cut some lavender from a bush, as much as you want to dry. Yields can be pretty impressive with just a small bundle. Once you have your bundle, put it in a shoebox or something similar lined with newspaper and put it in a dry place. I put mine in the water cupboard. Works like a charm. Shake the box a little every day to help the stripping process along. After a week (or 10 days), take the box out and empty; the lavender should be dry and the buds should be slightly brittle between your fingers. If you want them drier, just chuck them back in the cupboard for a few more days.
After you've stripped the buds (and are high on essential lavender oil), let them rest for an hour or two in a dry place. Then put them in your preferred storage container. Their most basic function is to make everything smell awesome, but you can use the buds for a number of things - put it in green tea, in a bath, sachets in your closet will deter moths, it's an insect repellent, next to your bed as a sleep enhancer - the list goes on. Google is your friend.
(click pics for higher resolution)
|Dried lavender left (bluish), fresh buds right (purple)|
|To give you an idea of yield, the bunch on the left filled the small jam jar at the bottom of this post|
|Dried lavender buds (blue-ish)|
|Stripped, dried lavender leaves|
|On stalk, off stalk (thanks, Mr. Miyagi)|