Grow Lavender: Helping People Smell Better for Thousands of Years
EVERY herb garden should have Lavender. It’s beautiful, smells divine, is easy to grow and there’s all sorts of fun ways to use this herb from recipes and teas to flower bouquets and potpourri. Did I mention smells great?
In fact, Lavender has been helping people smell better for thousands of years! So get ready to learn about Lavender.
Here is what my back yard looks like.
Ha! I wish. This picture is from a farm in Provence, France. For now, I’ll have to settle for my three Lavender plants. Here’s one in my front flower bed right next to my Thyme. This is the Lavender ‘Provence’ variety.
I’m in zone 8 which makes it a non fussy plant for me. They don’t like cold weather, humidity or wet soil. Keep it dry and your herb will do great. Remember…this plant is native to the Mediterranean which means dry conditions and rocky, sandy soil. Do you live in a high humidity or colder region? Then plant it in a container where you can take indoors.
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Did you know…
- Romans (both men and women) anointed themselves heavily with Lavender
- Documented use by Egyptians, Phoenicians, Arabs where it was used as perfume and part of the embalming process
- Legends say Cleopatra and the Queen of Sheba used this fragrance to seduce their lovers. Which I guess between the smell of Lavender or body odor this would help the “dating” process.
- Grown on farms in Spain and south of France for the commercial perfume business
Medicinally Lavender also packs a power punch:
- During the plague, it was one of the herbs believed to ward of the Plague. It’s clinically proven to have antibacterial, antifungal and antiseptic qualities. It makes sense why this would have helped with the dreaded Plague.
- Used to relieve tension, stress, and insomnia. I love adding a few drops of Lavender Essential Oil or a handful of Lavender blossoms tied in a muslin bag to my warm baths after a long day.
It was even used during the Victorian times in “smelling salts” which helped prevent fainting because the women wore the monstrosities known as the corset.
Lavender is extremely easy to dry. I’ve left it outside on hot days (in a basket) and used my dehydrator. Both methods worked beautifully. Just make sure the buds will crumble before storing them. Once, I got lazy and bottled the buds before they could crumble. I was left with a moldy mess. What a waste!
No matter which zone you are growing in, give this herb a try. My philosophy..if it’s good enough for Cleopatra, then it’s good enough for me!
1.) Sombke, Laurence. Beautiful Easy Herbs. 1997. Rodale Publishing.
2.) Gilbertie Sal and Sheehan, Larry. Herb Gardening from the Ground Up. 2012.
3.) Barrett, Judy. What Can I do with My Herbs? 2009. Texas A & M University Press.