Lavender (Lavendula officinale, spica, and vera)Lavender is one of thirty-nine known species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae.
Lavender is associated with the element air and the planet Mercury. It is symbolic of healing, love, magic, protection, and vision. The aromatic sweet smell is unmistakable, and its long-lasting fragrance makes it popular in the perfume industry. Lavender also displays powerful sedative and calming properties; and is used for the treatment of anxiety, digestive problems, insomnia, migraines, and tension headaches.
The flower buds are usually dried just before they bloom, and then ground and used as a flavoring. Herbs de Provence; a fragrant dried herb mixture from southern France known for its lavender inclusion, and ingredients vary according to what is available. Mix basil, fennel, lavender, oregano, rosemary, sage, and summer savory. Sprinkle on meats to grill, chicken, and roasts, before cooking. Fresh lavender flowers can be candied for decorations. Try flavoring preserves and sorbets, adding to cake and cookie mixes, or adding a few stems to vinegar to make a sweetly scented dressing.
Lavender was an essential part of the early monastic and medicinal herb garden. This beautiful, potent, and lovely-smelling flower not only repels mosquitoes but also keeps moths and flies away. Lavenders flourish best in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun. All types need little or no fertilizer and good air circulation.
Harvest & Storing
Harvest lavender stems at any time by cutting them from the plant, but avoid clipping more than every third stem to keep the plant looking full. Dry the flowering stems by lying on open trays, or hanging them in small bunches.
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