When you envision the purple hue that covers the rolling hills of Provence, France, one of the world’s most popular flowers - lavender comes to mind. But did you know that some lavender plants are hardy enough to withstand our Canadian winter temperatures and provide up to thirty years of blossoms?
We LOVE lavender, and so do many of our customers. In fact, it is one of the most popular scents in our products and we use over 6 litres of lavender essential oil every year! Many of our customers ask us if we use our own lavender flowers to make our essential oil. I wish we did! But it takes approximately 3 pounds of lavender flowers to produce just 15mL of essential oil. We do; however, use the lavender buds/flowers in some of our products including our facial scrub, bath tea, bath fizzes, lavender & patchouli bar soap etc.
Our lavender is called “Munstead” and it is one of the hardiest breeds recommended for our climate. Each spring, once the plants have had some warmth and sunlight, we trim the dead branches (often there is some winter kill) and prune the rest to keep a rounded shape. Lavender likes to be kept dry and prefers sandy soil, so our plants are “mounded”. Consider planting lavender close to your house foundation or around some rocks. This way it is protected from the wind and cold.
Once the blossoms begin to open, we harvest them. Each sprig must be cut by hand and bundled. These bundles are hung to dry in a warm, airy location for a few weeks. We used to use the upstairs of our old granary above the garage, but this summer we will transform the ancestral home into an herb drying area where visitors will be able to see the various plants we use.
One of the most time-consuming activities for us used to be removing the dried buds from the stalks, but our son built a lavender bud removing machine a couple of years ago that now handles the task much easier! The dried lavender is then stored in large bottles and bags (to keep out moisture) until it is ready to be used.
|Since ancient times, lavender has been used as much for its delicate perfume as for its medicinal properties. Lavender is the oil most associated with burns and healing of the skin. It is also commonly known for its relaxing effects on the body. Try your hand at growing lavender – it may reward you with years of blooms!|
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