Lavender. Colour. Scent. Spiritually uplifting. Emotional support. So many things come to mind when I think of lavender. Fresh. Refreshing. Heady. Yeah, I love lavender! I grow several different varieties in my garden and the bees just love it! My favourite is English Lavender, with long stems and granular type flowers. The scent is enough to drive me wild with euphoria! Well, it is said that lavender is even an aphrodisiac, so it is understandable why I feel this way when
sniffing the heady scent!
Did you know that lavender derives its name from “lavare” in Latin, which means to wash! And it belongs to the mint family?? They prefer free draining soil and lots of sunshine. I have potted one in a smallish ceramic pot but it is not so happy confined, so I may just set it free in the garden. Lavender can be tricky to grow from seed, however I am extremely lucky in that I planted lavender along all my pathways and they reseed and grow easily in the sandy pathways, so I have an endless supply of seedlings! I have visions of one day ending up with a field of lavender rather than lawn!
The English lavender bush I prize is about 1m high and about 10 years old! Year after year I prune it back and it rewards me with beautiful long spires of intoxicating lavender flowers in Spring which I harvest, tie up bunches with string and suspend upside down from the ceiling in my kitchen. When they are dry, I remove the flowers from the stems – a meditative job requiring patience and dedication to the cause.
Once you have removed the flower heads, discard the stems (compost) and fill small organza or handmade cotton bags with the lavender. These can be placed in drawers to scent clothes and repel unwanted insects. They also make great little gifts from the garden. Another use is to slip a small sachet under your pillow. As your head moves around at night, it will crush the flower heads and release a wonderful calming lavender scent to act as a natural sedative and help you sleep peacefully.
How to make a lavender wreath:
Some of my lavender harvested this year was used to make a scented lavender wreath. Cut 6-8 lengths of willow branches 1 1/2m long. Strip the leaves and then make a circle 50cm in width with the first willow length. Wind the ends around the circle and weave each subsequent willow branch around this first one till you have a nice thick, sturdy hoop. Secure the circle with hemp twine along each quarter of the circle. Leave to dry for about 2 weeks, and then weave small bunches of lavender into the willow branches at intervals, securing with hemp twine, till it is completely covered in lavender. Mine is displayed in the guest toilet, hopefully to repel any unwelcome smells in there, as well as looking earthy and novel.
How to make a lavender bath sachet:
Want a luxury spa pamper at home? Fill a smaller reusable organza or cotton pouch with lavender flower heads, tie the top closed with ribbon or string and chuck into your bath while running the hot water to gently release the natural relaxing essential oils. You could also add a Tbspn oats to the sachet to help soothe dry itchy skin. Optional extras: Experiment with drying different flowers from your garden and add a Tbspn of these (dried or fresh) to your lavender bath sachet, try calendula, chamomile, rose geranium or even fragrant rose petals. When you discover your favourites, why not package some for gifting to friends and family? A gift from the heart says so much more than a hastily purchased trinket from a gift store!
Enjoy some Lazy Lavender Days