Whether grown directly in the garden or in pots, Lavender is such a romantic flower that every gardener sooner or later succumbs to the urge to grow it. The fact that it is a native of the Mediterranean and a lover of dry, sunny, rocky habitats makes it a perfect specimen for our hot Highveld climate here in South Africa. It even manages our frosty winters quite well, probably because it is our dry season with not much rain. Lavender doesn’t like to be cold AND wet.
I have taken a couple of cuttings from a plant growing in my garden to try it in a pot, which I can put in a full sun position. I did the sketch above from my imagination to try and “see” what it will look like and I’ve convinced myself!
My lavender plant, given to me by a dear friend, in October 2012
My lavender plant at the end of 2013
Lavender from your garden offers so much in the line of gifts to give a special friend or just hand out at dinner parties. Dry the flowers and fill little sachets tied with a pretty bow, or fill a pretty bottle with these gorgeous lilac blossoms, they have a calming effect floating in your bath water. Put a sprig of lavender with some flowers in a bottle of oil (Almond oil is perfect) for another lovely bath experience,
Lavender is healing and calming, bringing a sense of well being and harmony. It aids in sleep and can be used in massage oil for relief of muscle tension. A drop rubbed on hands and then wiped on pillow or sheets aids in relaxation, skin blemishes, allergies and asthma. It's a great insect repellent and I use the crushed leaves in my chicken coop to keep pesky mosquitos at bay.
Lavender is a lovely accent plant or, planted at the back of borders, gives height. In a rock garden, a single plant or just a few plants may be used to great effect as an accent. And, of course, lavender is a natural choice for any herb garden. The cool, grey-green foliage contrasts nicely with its own flowers, as well as dark green herbs and other plants.
Homemade Mosquito Repellent
For many, spring is looming and it's time to get ready for Mosquito invasions. Here's an easy and pleasant repellent recipe you can make at home:
Combine in a 16 oz bottle:
15 drops lavender oil
3-4 Tbsp of vanilla extract
1/4 Cup lemon juice.
Fill bottle with water.
(Info from 'Surviving the Stores')
Now, here's my secret - I'm absolutely MAD about lavender and cannot resist using it in my home or bath, but I am totally allergic to it and my eyes get all red and swollen up if I dare use it on my pillow and bathing in it gives me a red rash all over my body. So for now it's reserved for the chicken coop and as gifts for friends!