What is all the fuss about lavender?

In the lavender at Dr. Maze's Farm
Lavender up close.

Many folks love lavender. Others wonder what is all the fuss? What makes lavender different from all the other fragrant and pretty flowers? There are many ways to enjoy lavender.  In addition to displaying bunches of cut lavender stems, we find other uses for the stems, as well as the flower buds, lavender essential oil, and the flower water, or hydrosol of lavender.

Lavender has an engaging fragrance that is beloved by many. That is enough reason to grow and use lavender, but looking deeper, we find that lavender is a complex and multi-faceted plant with many uses.
I would like to touch on some highlights here, but many of these topics demand more discussion. Watch the blog for more upcoming postings about lavender. Each paragraph here could someday be the start of a separate entry. Let me know what most interests you about lavender. Here starts our whirlwind tour:

Royal Velvet lavender ready to distill
Freshly cut lavender (Royal Velvet)

With a bit of care, lavender plants do well in our region. You can choose a lavender variety to make a bold statement or a smaller plant to add an aromatic atmosphere to your landscape.

Lavender Wands
Lavender Wands

Over the years, people have developed a wide variety of uses for lavender. We use bunches of lavender on the stem, lavender flower buds, lavender sugar syrup, lavender essential oil and lavender hydrosol. Lavender dries easily. Bring in some fragrant bunches to display around the home. With a bit of ribbon you can transform a bunch of lavender stems into a lavender wand, traditionally placed in a drawer to scent the contents and deter insect pests. Keep a small bowl of flower buds on your desk to stir up and release the fragrance when you feel the need for a little stress break.

Culinary Lavender from Dr. Maze's Farm
Culinary Lavender from Dr. Maze’s Farm

Culinary adventurers may want to try cooking with lavender, which pairs wonderfully with lemon and other citrus, chocolate, fish, poultry, and meats. Take a look at the bottle of Herbs de Provence in your cupboard. It probably contains lavender.

Lavender Essential Oil distilled by Dr. Maze
Lavender Essential Oil distilled by Dr. Maze

Lavender combines well with other fragrances and is often used in perfuming. When used judiciously, lavender can serve to meld the other aromas into a harmonious whole. When you start to really pay attention to lavender from different sources you will find distinctly different fragrances, some especially appealing to you. We grow five varieties of lavender and they each distinctly different.

Many find the aroma of lavender calming and relaxing, so lavender is often used as a sleep aid. There are a number of ways to introduce lavender to your bedtime ritual. Storing your linens with lavender or spraying them with a lavender linen spray adds a touch of lavender aroma to the air. You can mist your face or pillow with lavender hydrosol just before retiring, or place a drop of lavender oil on your pillow. Some people like a cup of herbal tea with a bit of lavender as an evening routine.
Lavender Hydrosol
Lavender Hydrosol

Lavender has a special place in skin and body care. I keep some lavender oil in my first aid kit to apply to minor scrapes and burns. Many find that lavender oil soothes the pain and helps to prevent infection. I particularly like to use lavender oil on burns around the house or grill. I find that a burn anointed quickly with lavender oil is less painful and heals quickly and without scarring. A misting of lavender hydrosol on a sunburn brings soothing relief. For the same reasons, many use lavender oil and hydrosol in skin care, where they find it helps with healing and rejuvenating mistreated or aging skin, especially on the face.

 I have a particularly intense relationship with lavender since I grow and harvest lavender and lavender flower buds, distill lavender essential oil and hydrosol, and craft and sell lavender products at our farm. I use and experience lavender in one form or other every day.
If you like lavender, try something new with lavender. I think you will be glad you did. And let me know about your lavender experiences and other favorite uses I haven’t mentioned.

 

2 thoughts on “What is all the fuss about lavender?”

  1. I have a question about cooking with lavender. What type of lavender would be the best to use when making lavender sugar? Also, like Rose water, is there such thing as lavender water? Thank you in advance!!

    1. When cooking with lavender you should use a true lavender for the best flavor. You can tell the true lavenders from the hybrids by the size of the plant and the lavender aroma. The true lavender plants are smaller and have a more floral aroma. We use the varieties Maillette and Royal Velvet for culinary use, but I am sure there are many others.

      We make lavender water, or hydrosol, when we distill lavender essential oil. It is great in a misting bottle to spray on your face or pillow.

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