Lavender fields are so spectacular, an aromatic sea of purple flowers as far as the eye can see. I never tire of watching them!
Lavender is both a rustic and a valuable plant in the garden as well as in the home.
In the garden, it smells so fresh and attracts pollinating insects.
At home, it drives away mosquitoes and moths while giving a pleasant, fresh scent to rooms and linens. It also helps you sleep well.
You can also cook with lavender, adding a unique and delicate aroma to cookies, fruit salads, and more, according to your own creativity. I will let you taste cookies of my own creation soon :).
In this post, I’ll share how to enjoy lavender every day.
Who doesn’t know lavender? Its unique, aromatic, herbaceous, and slightly sweet fragrance; its endless violet-colored fields; and its beautiful spiky inflorescences.
When we see lavender, we are instantly reminded of the South of France, where it has been cultivated since the Middle Ages and where it creates a unique landscape. But lavender is also part of the Italian landscape.
The Romans already cultivated it to perfume their bath water and for its healing properties. The name “lavender” actually comes from Latin, from the word “lavare” meaning “to wash.”
Let’s get to know it a little more. Botanically, lavender belongs to the genus Lavandula, which includes multiple species.
The most cultivated one is Lavandula angustifolia. It is part of the botanic family Lamiaceae, with many aromatic plants such as basil, thyme, and rosemary.
It is an evergreen shrub no more than one meter tall. From the woody basal part, quadrangular herbaceous branches, also aromatic, depart.
Its flowers are united into inflorescences called spikes, just above the leaves. Flowers may be blue, purple, or lilac.
The plant forms a shrub that can occupy up to a meter in diameter and can be up to one meter tall.
It is harvested, depending on the season, between early June and late July to extract its essential oil and to make bouquets for drying.
Benefits and Uses
Lavender is grown as an ornamental garden and landscape plant, as an aromatic herb, and for essential oil extraction.
It has been appreciated for its aroma and healing properties since ancient times.
The ancient Egyptians already knew of its antiseptic and bactericidal properties and used it in the mummification process.
It has long been used in aromatherapy against anxiety, and, increasingly, scientific research also shows that lavender essential oil could help against anxiety. By helping to relax, it also helps with sleep.
How to grow lavender
Lavender is a hardy plant that likes well-drained soils and a Mediterranean climate with full sun exposure. Most lavender species like calcareous soils, with the exception of Lavandula stoechas, which prefers siliceous soils.
It is undemanding, but it requires space because it can grow widely in diameter up to a meter across.
It grows in temperate regions, where it blooms in summer, transforming gardens and fields into a blue palette.
How to dry lavender
To dry lavender, cut the flowering stems early in the morning, tie them in bunches, and hang them upside down in a ventilated, dry place, not in direct contact with the sun.
Once dried, you can arrange them in vases around the house to ward off mosquitoes and scent the room; harvest the flowers to make them into, for example, perfumed bedding or scented pillows.
Want to learn more about how to enjoy lavender every day? Follow me on Instagram @daybydayplants_blog!
Cover image taken in Umbria, Assisi at Lavandeto di Assisi.