Four Sweet Reasons to Plant Lavender in Your Garden

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4 Sweet Reasons to Plant Lavender in Your Garden

Written by Nell, Contributing Writer

 

I know it’s summer now, but harken back to when it was springtime. What were you planting? What were you dreaming about having in your little window garden? Or your big backyard plot? When you looked at and thought about sumptuous herbs for your cuisine, did lavender come to mind?

 

Lavender is a flowering plant whose known use stretches over 2,500 years. It is grown and harvested across the world for its beauty, essential oils, healing qualities, and gentle taste. The flower forms in a whorl shape–meaning a spiral that rises about the foliage. Lavender is even mentioned in the Song of Solomon 4:13-15 in the Old Testament, under its common name of the time “nard,” as one of the holy herbs used in the temple:

“nard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with every kind of incense tree,
with myrrh and aloes,
and all the finest spices.”

If it’s good enough for the Creator God, oh my! it’s more than good enough for us! It is truly one of the sacred spices, and worthy of blessing to our bodies.

 

lavender whorl

Let’s look at a few ways we can use lavender in our everyday life: baths, sleep aids, tea, and baking.

To dry the lavender whorls, simply gather them from the garden when most of the flowers are in bloom, rinse & pat them dry, and then lay on a screen or drying rack in your kitchen or a not-too-humid room and wait for the air to do the work for you. Once sufficiently dried, you may leave them intact, or gather the buds, depending on how you plan to best use your beautiful gift.

 

lavender drying

 

For the bath, lavender is a particularly powerful relaxing agent due to its antiseptic and anti-inflamatory properties. Simply adding your dried lavender flowers, perhaps gathered into a sachet or muslin pouch, to the running warm water of the bath will soothe your senses and your body.

 

For sleep assistance, gather dried lavender into an eye sleep pack or a flaxseed sack, or even a small pouch of it under your pillow. A number of studies over the years has established this inclusion of lavender will ease and enhance sleep quantity and quality. For relief from eye swelling or post-partum body swelling, consider a product like this lavender & rose petal witch hazel or make your own. Consider infusing it into coconut oil for a skin cream or wound salve as well. So many health & healing properties in one tiny fragrant flower!

 

My favorite tea is a combination of dried lavender and mint: 2 tablespoons dried lavender with 1/2 cup mint leaf. Heavenly–a recipe from Wellness Mama! The longer you steep it, the better it is. Add a little honey for sweetness if it’s too bitter. It sits well in the fridge over night, continuing to steep, and can be enjoyed in your glass in a refreshingly chill state as well.

 

When contemplating its role in baking and cooking, think on its light, floral flavor. Then add to your cupcakes, scones, shortbread, ice cream, and whatever else your little heart (and tummy) desires. It infuses well into honey and butter. Imagine a little toast in the morning with sweet creamy butter and then lavender honey! Remember that dried lavender is to be used in a 1/3 proportion to fresh. For the choco-holics among us, lavender is surprisingly lovely with chocolate as well. And if you’re a creme brulee devotee as well, even that pairs nicely with our new favorite occupant of the garden. {Disclaimer: I haven’t tried all of these recipes so I’m hoping they’re as good as they look!}

 

Now that you know all this, if you could go back in time to this spring when you were planting, tell me you’d plant copious amounts of lavender! My sweet husband gave me over a dozen plants for Mother’s Day and we’ve all been enjoying them so much all summer long. A real sacred herb, and a versatile one.

Have you ever used lavender? What was your favorite way to use it?

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About Nell

Nell lives in the great city of Saint Paul with her two little ones, SweetPea and SuperBoy, and her fellow-lawyer husband. She is passionate about natural parenting & parenting the whole child, blogging about their journey at Whole Parenting Family and selling her organic baby & mama goods onEtsy. Follow her on Facebook & Pinterest. When she's not tending the weeds in the tomato patch, she's chasing down SweetPea who's chasing the dog, or reading baseball cards to SuperBoy.

Comments

  1. Nell, I just love this, I need to plant some lavender for sure!

  2. How many lavender plants do you need to get what you need for the winter?

    • Hi Debbie! Sorry this is a late response. I planted 14 plants and have harvested them regularly so far. I think this will last us through the winter, but it depends on how many people will be appreciating it. I’m harvesting for our family of four (with two of those people under 4 years old, so their consumption is less). Does that help?

  3. I planted it as a deterrent for pests as well (surrounding my veggies) – combined with marigolds, zinnias, and petunias- it has been pretty effective!

  4. Enjoyed your article on lavender! We have a lavender farm outside Tazewell, TN and use lavender in a lot of products. It is a great aid to help people relax and sleep and for motion sickness. We are finding new uses for it all the time.

  5. Henry & Peggy, how delightful! What a gift you’re sharing with the world.

  6. Love lavender! I have kept the same lavender hedge of sorts for 5 years now(south mpls) on the edge of a raised bed/patio beside our concrete driveway. It is on the southside of the house and gets lots of sun and is well drained. They help to keep the pesky bugs away but attracts bees:) Would love ideas on keeping a small bee hive in my tiny postage stamp sized backyard! I was so surprised the first year they made it through one of our winters. My sage and thyme also survive and come back every spring:) Love walking out the back door and rubbing my hands on them for a fresh aroma scent.

    • Amy, that’s fantastic! And they keep coming back–that’s the amazing part of these delightful annuals. Way to go, sage & thyme, surviving our Minnesota winters. Oh a hive would be awesome too–work, but awesome. A cousin keeps bees as a side hobby and her honey is to.die.for!

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