July 21, 2015
Did you know lavender is part of the mint family? I didn’t until I did a little research for this blog. Lavender is known best for its calming and healing qualities, but is also used in cooking and crafting.
I recently harvested the lavender in my yard. It was really past time for some of it, but, as they say, better late than never. My love for lavender has many facets. The color, the smell, the way they sway in the breeze, and the way they add such a peacefulness to my garden.
Here’s a little history I found on everything-lavender.com:
“Lavender, a herb, has been used for over 2000 years of history. The Egyptians used it in their mummification process. They also perfumed their skin with it.
Lavender, from “lavare” (Latin meaning ‘to wash‘) or “livendulo” (meaning ‘livid or bluish’) was used by the Romans. The lavender flower was used for cooking and added to the water used for bathing. The early Greeks learned a lot about lavender flower perfumes and the use of aromatic herbs from the Egyptians. The Romans learned about this knowledge from the Greeks and used the lavender flower lavishly in their public baths, to perfume themselves and their homes. They also valued it for treating ailments. This is where the history of lavender for medicinal use began. Later, during the Renaissance, it was used to protect against infections during the Plaque.
English royalty were particularly fond of lavender during the Victorian Era. Queen Victoria even appointed a official purveyor, her name was Miss Sarah Sprules “Purveyor to the Queen”, and it was used throughout the castles for everything imaginable. Floors and furniture were washed and all the linens perfumed with its sweet scent.
The Queen’s interest and passion for this plant encouraged all fine English ladies to follow suit and scent themselves, and anything else possible. There were street vendors carrying bundles of flowers for sale that they harvested from the hills, and the women would craft flower Tussie Mussies (a small bouquet). They would sing about their wares to get the attention of potential buyers. Some of their calls were printed in The Cries of London. Songs and diddies such as Lavender Blue became popular.
The Queen wanted a supply of fresh flower bundles brought to her daily. Lavender flowers were strewn through stone castle floors to release it’s scent under foot traffic. The scent of lavender symbolized cleanliness and purity. This demand brought about and encouraged cultivation and commercial farming to help keep up and maintain a constant supply for the royalty. Growing lavender commercially got its start here. Lavender was found in just about every home herb garden, too.
In more modern times, lavender was rediscovered by Rene Gatefosse, one of the founders of aromatherapy, when he burned himself in his lab. He immediately plunged his arm into its sweet essential oil and noted the quick healing, and lack of both infection and scarring that resulted from his quick thinking. It has been noted that lavender was used in World War I as a wound dressing for injured soldiers. We now know that is has antibacterial properties which is another reason it is so useful”.
For myself, I use the lavender from my garden to bring in for bouquets, make sachets for gifts or to sell, photograph for cards, tie to gifts, display the dried flowers in decorative jars, or simply just sit in the garden and hold to my nose!
I have quite a large bouquet going in a huge old jar and more drying on the picnic table outside. I still have quite a bit of work to do to get the flowers off of the stems, but generally I let most of them just fall off, or shake them off as they are drying.
You can do just about anything with lavender. Check out Pintrest, or google ideas of what you can do with it, like making scented linen spray, use in recipes, make soaps, bath salts, and scrubs, create your own essential oil, make gifts, or just grow it and enjoy in your own garden! Take a trip to the nursery and see all the wonderful varieties there are and choose your own favorite…. or favorites. And they’re drought tolerant, too. Bonus!
People either love lavender or not. I’m a lover! Have a beautiful evening. It’s a perfect one!
PS… Happy Birthday, Aunt Fran!