Welcome to another blooming lovely Monday. The flower I am looking at today is one that grows profusely in my garden, lavender.
I tend to grow the English variety and I love its beautiful fragrance. Bees love it too. I don’t make honey but I do enjoy the taste of lavender honey.
Lavender is an evergreen shrub and thrives in a sunny spot in your garden. If you plant it in the right place it will reward you with a host of purple flowers. If you have a healthy plant you can divide it in the autumn and propagate more lavender for your enjoyment.
Lavender has a long history and has changed names over the years. The Egyptians used it in the embalming process. It appears in the Bible under the name Spikenard. Both the Greeks and Romans used it for its fragrance and healing properties.
During medieval times monastic houses grew lavender for both fragrance and medicinal use. Housewives used it to fragrance their laundry, to keep away insects, to flavour foods and to make soothing lotions for their faces.
It was said by some a lavender stalk in a key hole would protect a household from evil spirits. The soothing properties of the fragrance will give you easy sleep and also allow you to contact those in the fairy realms. If you carry lavender in your pocket it is said you will be able to see ghosts.
In the language of flowers lavender stands for calmness and grace. It is traditional in many countries for sprigs of lavender to be part of a bridal boquet. Perhaps lavender was the original something blue?
If you wish to collect lavender from your garden do so just before the flowers open. Cut on a dry day and I have found the best method to dry the flowers is to spread them on a plastic tray and leave them for a couple of days. I have dried lavender in the sun and in the house too. You can also make the traditional lavender bundles tied up with a bit of cotton and hang the lavender to dry.
Once your lavender is dry crumble it from the stalks and store it in an airtight jar until you are ready to use it. I like to make small lavender sachets to put in draws and storage boxes, especially those for bed linen and towels. You can make these little sachets up very easily and they look pretty enough for a present if tied with a purple ribbon.
You can also make very pretty dried flower arrangements with dried lavender left on the stalk.
If you have a lot of lavender you can make a lavender pillow as a sleep aid for someone who has problems drifting off.
There will be more about lavender and its uses next Monday.