Originally found in the Mediterranean countries,
the perennial herb lavender, has long been prized
for its perfume and medicinal qualities. Used by
the ancient Romans for its healing and antiseptic
qualities the name itself comes from the Latin
“lavare” to wash.
As a garden flower lavender is hard to beat,
having fragrance, beauty and a harvest of
sweet smelling blooms.
Old English Lavender, a must for any cottage
garden, will grow two to three feet high given
a sunny spot in well drained soil, producing
fragrant greyish leaves and blue/purple
flowers. It is hardy and drought tolerant
The more compact variety Hidcote, has darker
blue flowers, grows to around a foot high
and is pretty in the flower or herb garden
but stunning as a low hedge that will attract
bees and butterflies all Summer long.
It adapts well to growing in containers
so if you place some on your patio, deck
or sitting out area you will be able to
enjoy its heady fragrance as you relax.
The easiest way to propogate lavender
is to take softwood cuttings in the Spring.
However, as lavender benefits from a
light pruning in early Autumn these
clippings make excellent new plants
too as long as you protect them from
Lavenders spiky form is always useful
in Summer flower arranging. Can you
imagine a more welcoming posy for a
guest room than lavender freshly picked
from the garden mixed with pretty
pastel coloured sweet peas and a couple
of old fashioned roses?
To dry your lavender, strip the leaves or
the just opening flowers from the stalk
and spread out in a warm place before
using in pot pourris to fragrance your
rooms, in cotton sprigged sachets to
scent and deter moths from drawers and
closets or to tuck between your bed pillows
for their sleep inducing qualities.
You can also scent a relaxing and antiseptic
bath by tying sprigs of lavender into a piece
of muslin and letting the bath water run over
it as it fills your bath. If you dont have fresh
lavender try adding a couple of drops of the
Essential oil of lavender is used in aromatherapy
to lift depression, combat tiredness and help
relaxation. It has strong disinfectant properties
and was even used on the battle fields of World
Wars 1 and 11 to prevent infection and relieve
pain when other medical supplies were low.
A drop of lavender oil mixed with a teaspoon
of carrier oil such as grapeseed and massaged
into the temples and back of the neck will soothe
Mixed with a massage oil it is also thought to
help relieve the pain of arthritis or aching
Around the home dried lavender stalks can
be burned like incense sticks or burned on
the fire for their wonderful fragrance.
Dried lavender can also be tied into wands,
wired on to vine wreaths or used in floral
art, candlemaking and many other crafts.
In the garden, in the bath or anywhere around
the home lavender really is a wonderful
treat for the senses!
Copright 2000 – Colleen Moulding
About the author: Colleen Moulding is a
freelance writer from England where she has
had many features on parenting, childcare, travel,
the Internet and lots more published in national
magazines and newspapers. She has also published
a variety of womens and childrens fiction.
Her work frequently appears at many sites on the
Internet and at her own site for women and children
All That Women Want.com a magazine, web guide
and resource for women everywhere.
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