Lavender is a wonderful versatile herb that can be planted directly in the garden or grown in a pot on the terrace. Lavandula angustifolia has slightly pointed thin leaves and a gray-green hue.
Now that many of us are familiar with the essential oil of lavender it is becoming common knowledge that lavender will help us to relax. Lavender water can be sprayed on pillows or bedclothes to hasten relaxation and sleep. It can also be placed on a cotton ball under a child’s bed to help a small child relax and get ready for bedtime. (Don’t put it close to the face of a small child, because in high doses it may keep a person awake).
Lavender is used in the burn units of hospitals, because it helps to cut the pain of a burn and at the same time it reduces blistering. Along with ice, lavender lotion is handy by the stove to put on small burns that result from brushing an arm against a hot oven shelf. I once kept a rather bad burn from blistering by applying lavender and ice immediately to my hand.
Lavender has a wonderful herbal taste to add to sweet confections, such as cookies and brownies. Just search lavender recipes on the internet and there are easy recipes for confections and sorbets and other desserts easily available. (Be sure to use culinary lavender and not the potpourri lavender that is treated with chemicals.) A sprinkling of fresh lavender is a welcome surprise on the top of a salad. That potted lavender on your back porch is very useful as a source for that final touch to your salad.
Teas and lemonades also benefit from lavender. Dried lavender put into a tea strainer makes a wonderful evening tea with hot water poured directly over it. In the morning a sprig of lavender placed in your cup of Earl Gray sets off the wonderful aroma, as well as enhancing the taste.
Bring Lavender Into Your Garden
While you are looking through those wonderful plant catalogues this spring, consider purchasing a lavender plant for your patio. It will discourage insects and create an aromatic environment, as well as providing sprigs of this delicious herb for your culinary use. In the garden it will last over the winter in most parts of the United States or you may choose to bring it into the house and overwinter it in a dormant state in the basement, or keep it in a window to
use during the winter. In my garden in northern Wisconsin it has lasted several years where I planted it behind the barn, protected from the winter winds. In Florida it overwinters on my back patio in a large pot, but needs care during the hot summers.
Lavender is a useful herb that we should all enjoy as a fragrant, healthful and culinary addition to our lives.