As Rosemary is to the Spirit, so Lavender is to the Soul. - Anonymous
Lavender has one of the most evocative fragrances and is commonly seen in home gardens. It also has a longstanding reputation for its many medicinal properties, as a perfume, a mood enhancer and its usefulness around the home. All this and it looks gorgeous too.
Here are a few interesting facts to start (or maybe continue) your love story with lavender.
Can you grow Lavender at your place?
If you live where there is plenty of sunshine (ideally about six hours a day), the soil drains well and has a pH level between 6 and 8, you have some water and it doesn’t get too cold in winter, then you can probably grow lavender at your place. Lavender is not a fussy plant, but it works best in hot and dry conditions - it doesn’t like wet feet and is relatively drought resistant. Even if you don’t have the ideal conditions, there are many different varieties of lavender that suit different conditions and the chances are good that you will find one that will work for you. Also, remember that some of the smaller-growing lavender can work well in pots. Try growing your own lavender - the effort is worth it.
There’s a variety of Lavender for everyone
Lavender belongs to the Lamiaceae family, along with mint, sage, thyme, rosemary, savoury and oregano.
The genus Lavandula can then be divided into six “sections”: Lavandula, Stoechas, Dentata …. Enough of the techno-jargon! Section Lavandula contains the most commonly grown and hardiest of the lavender genus and includes angustifolia (often called English lavender), latifolia and the intermedia hybrids (crossing angustifolia and latifolia) such as Grosso. These are the ones you will mostly see for sale in the nurseries and being grown commercially for essential oil. There are well over 100 different cultivars so there is something for everyone.
At Lavender Row, we currently grow four varieties of angustifolia – Pacific Blue, Violet Intrigue, Munstead and Hidcote Blue – and Grosso. Our angustifolia varieties generally have a sweeter fragrance than the more camphorous grosso.
Benefits of Lavender
Lavender uses for the Mind and Emotions – lavender can be gently sedating, nurturing, calming and soothing.
Lavender uses for the Body – lavender stimulates the immune defence system, is good for first aid and relaxing.
Lavender uses for the Skin – lavender soothes irritations, aids healing and cell rejuvenation. Did you know that during World War One, there was such a shortage of modern antiseptics that the public was asked to collect garden lavender so the oil could be used along with sphagnum moss to treat war wounds?
Long before modern medicine, each household’s medicine chest contained the herbs of the local countryside and lavender has played a significant role in it. Since ancient Greek and Roman times, lavender has been used in cosmetics, cleansing and healing products.
Lavender continues to be a very popular and versatile essential oil – soothing and calming, balancing and normalising. Its anti-bacterial and antiseptic qualities make it useful for first aid and it’s also a handy insect repellent.
It can be used in a vaporiser or oil diffuser, inhaled or applied neat or diluted depending on the treatment required. It can be used as a general tonic or during convalescence – it is both strengthening and nurturing. A few drops placed on a pillow can help calm a restless child or alleviate insomnia in adults. Try adding it to a carrier oil for an after-sun massage or add a few drops to a cotton swab to treat minor burns.