It's Lavender Harvest Time!
I have grown Lavender in my garden since I have been a gardener, which was back when I was a youngin' at 21 years old. I have always adored the fragrance, and to this day it remains my absolute favorite.
Through the years in the garden, I have replaced and regrown several varieties, but my favorite remains Grosso. Grosso is an English crossed with a Portuguese and has been used for its essential oils for many years. Long, elegant stems provide beautiful and abundant bunches that you see dried and are very popular. But I've also grown partial to a French hybrid called Phenomenal. It's a bit more cold tolerant, and more compact than Grosso, but I love the whimsical fat flower heads, and when dried, they are a bit more colorful than Grosso.
A tidbit of Lavender History
Lavender (genus lavandula) is an evergreen, perennial woody shrub, native to the countries bordering the Mediterranean. The genus comprises 30 species of plants in the mint family.
Lavender has been in use for over 2,500 years! The earliest uses of lavender were many, but they were usually medicinal. There are biblical references to lavender in the gospel of Luke, referenced as Spikenard, which was the name used during that time.
Recent studies have placed Lavender at the top of the list of plants for the brain. Here are some of Lavender's most prominent attributes for our health;
- helps sleep
- boosts moods and memory
- relieves pain
- heals skin
- acts as a protective agent
And, here are some other fun facts--
- In the 19th century, gypsy travelers sold bunches of lavender on the streets of London to bring people good luck and protection.
- 3,000 years after King Tutankhamen’s tomb was sealed, the lavender found within when it was opened in 1922 still kept some of its fragrance.
- The name lavender comes from the Latin verb lavare — to wash. The Romans used Lavender to scent their public bathhouses.
And as if we need more reason to love Lavender
The fragrance of Lavender is unsurpassed, simply put. There is no other plant that gives us the aroma and staying power as the fragrance of Lavender. For centuries, the oil from the florets have been distilled into essential oil and used to produce copious amounts of perfumes, cosmetics, candles, sprays, and other body treatments. I believe we will trend more into the medicinal products in the future, as we are uncovering more and more qualities of Lavender in this area.
In the Garden, and Floriography
In the language of flowers, Lavender represents ardent attachment, calming, devotion, happiness, healing, luck, mis-trust, soothing the passion of the heart, and success.
Mis-trust? Do you wonder why that definition fell in there? How? History says that the flowers smelled so good, and was so useful in so many ways (medicinal) that it certainly could not be trusted!
If you don't already grow Lavender, you should! I simply cannot imagine my garden without it, and if you have a spot that has well-drained soil, and plenty of sun, you're in luck! (pun intended). They do need protection of heavy frost though, so a good mulch and even a cover in winter would be necessary.
I have used Lavender in floral design from day one, and when bunched en masse for bride's maids or even bridal bouquets, they are spectacularly beautiful, not to mention the fragrance is heavenly!
And speaking of heavenly, since one of Lavender's meaning in the language of flowers is happiness, I used the dried florets along with rosemary for a sachet in memory of my mom. I gave everyone a sachet that attended her memorial as a little gift from mom. Lavender, coupled with Rosemary, conveyed a sweet sentiment of Happy Memories. It was a lovely touch to her memorial, and I adore these little sachets as a keepsake.
For the love of Lavender--so many uses! It's no doubt we love it. I hope this leaves you inspired to incorporate more Lavender into your life!