by Colleen Moulding
in the Mediterranean countries, the perennial herb lavender, has long
been prized for itís perfume and medicinal qualities. Used by the ancient
Romans for itís healing and antiseptic qualities the name itself comes
from the Latin "lavare" to wash.
As a garden flower
lavender is hard to beat, having fragrance, beauty and a harvest of
sweet smelling blooms.
Old English Lavender,
a must for any cottage garden, will grow two to three feet high given
a sunny spot in well drained soil, producing fragrant greyish leaves
and blue/purple flowers. It is hardy and drought tolerant too.
The more compact
variety Hidcote, has darker blue flowers, grows to around a foot high
and is pretty in the flower or herb garden but stunning as a low hedge
that will attract bees and butterflies all Summer long.
It adapts well
to growing in containers so if you place some on your patio, deck or
sitting out area you will be able to enjoy itís heady fragrance as
The easiest way
to propogate lavender is to take softwood cuttings in the Spring. However,
as lavender benefits from a light pruning in early Autumn these clippings
make excellent new plants too as long as you protect them from frosts.
form is always useful in Summer flower arranging. Can you imagine a
more welcoming posy for a guest room than lavender freshly picked from
the garden mixed with pretty pastel coloured sweet peas and a couple
of old fashioned roses?
To dry your lavender,
strip the leaves or the just opening flowers from the stalk and spread
out in a warm place before using in pot pourris to fragrance your rooms,
in cotton sprigged sachets to scent and deter moths from drawers and
closets or to tuck between your bed pillows for their sleep inducing
You can also scent
a relaxing and antiseptic bath by tying sprigs of lavender into a piece
of muslin and letting the bath water run over it as it fills your bath.
If you donít have fresh lavender try adding a couple of drops of the
of lavender is used in aromatherapy to lift depression, combat tiredness
and help relaxation. It has strong disinfectant properties and was
even used on the battle fields of World Wars 1 and 11 to prevent infection
and relieve pain when other medical supplies were low. A drop of lavender
oil mixed with a teaspoon of carrier oil such as grapeseed and massaged
into the temples and back of the neck will soothe away headaches. Mixed
with a massage oil it is also thought to help relieve the pain of arthritis
or aching muscles.
Around the home
dried lavender stalks can be burned like incense sticks or burned on
the fire for their wonderful fragrance.
can also be tied into wands, wired on to vine wreaths or used in floral
art, candlemaking and many other crafts.
In the garden,
in the bath or anywhere around the home lavender really is a wonderful
treat for the senses!
About the Author:
is a freelance writer from England where she has had many features
on parenting, childcare, travel, the Internet and lots more published
in national magazines and newspapers. She has also published a variety
of womenís and childrenís fiction.
Her work frequently
appears at many sites on the Internet and at her own site for women
and children All That Women Want.com a magazine, web guide and resource
for women everywhere. http://www.allthatwomenwant.com
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