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Take this extreme measure now to keep lavender lovely

Ciscoe Morris on the kindest cut for mature plants. #k5evening

SEATTLE — "I love the livin' tweedle outta Lavender — it's so fragrant!" said Seattle gardening expert Ciscoe Morris. "But if you don't do a special thing you're gonna develop bare stems, and before long, your lavender is going to be so ugly you're just gonna get rid of it," he said, showing us the bare stems at the base of a mature lavender plant he had growing at his house.

"But there is something that can delay the onset of these bare stems," said Ciscoe, as he pulled out a pair of long-bladed hand pruners. "The trick to keeping them from getting bare stems is you have to shear them down to one-half inch above the bare stems this time of year every late winter or early spring," he said, as he began giving the old plant a serious shearing.

"So we don't want to cut into the old woody stems down here, we want to cut about a half inch above them. If we cut into them, the plant will grow back one year if you're lucky and then the whole plant will just fall apart," Ciscoe said.

"Okay I admit it, this is gonna look a little hacked back," Ciscoe said. "That's why don't listen to the books that tell you do do this in fall because you'll have an ugly plant that sits there all winter long. If you do it in spring, this'll start growing right away, and before you know it you'll be seeing those beautiful blooms."

"Now I have to give you a warning now before I quit. If you prune your lavender like I just described, you're gonna gain weight, that's because you're going to think of Provence when you're pruning it, and next thing you know you're in the house eating baguettes and pain au chocolate."

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