Lavender for Body and Soul
Lavenders have everything for the modern garden as an amenity plant. They are
evergreen, fast-growing, compact and fragrant. The origins of its name are
probably from the Latin word Lavare indicating the plant has another use as it
means to be washed and suggests it was regularly used to perfume bathing water.
There are numerous references to other qualities of lavender in Roman times – such
as a cure for mild epilepsy and as a laxative. The production of lavender for
aromatherapy, perfumery and alternative medical purposes are now well developed
in countries where various species of lavender are found naturally i.e. from the
The Mediterranean to the Middle East, India, North Africa, and Asia.
Lavender production requires dry roots and shoots, free draining soils and
reasonable light levels. Low fertility sandy soils are ideal with a Ph range of 6.0 to
7.0. When selecting suitable sites frost pockets should be avoided.
There are two species of Lavender i.e. French L. Dentata and English L.
Angustifolia has grown by the nursery industry for the amenity market. Both are
difficult to grow because of their dislike for overhead watering. Some good
cultivators of both species are always in demand, particularly for the garden center
Propagation and Production
Specialist propagators usually carry out propagation as it involves taking cuttings from growing stock under protection in February. Anti-condensation polythene is used during propagation. After the cuttings have rooted they are potted into 9cm pots and approximately 4 to 5 months later the plants are potted on into 2
liter pots. This is the size used for planting into the open ground. Ideally planting into the open ground should take place in the spring with rows 1.2m apart and 0.4m between plants resulting in approximately 16,000 plants per hectare. As the plants have a low fertility requirement a light dressing of a compound fertilizer such as 10 – 10 – 20 should be cultivated into the soil before planting to promote early growth. Weed control is
extremely important. Ideally, the plants should be planted through a fabric barrier such as a Mypex strip approximately 0.4 meters wide. Inter-row cultivation can then be carried out mechanically.
Lavender plants that are harvested each year will keep going for longer than ten years.
A range on the lifetime of the crop is possibly 15 – 20 years. Under wetter conditions, its lifespan may be reduced.
Pest and Diseases
Few pests attack lavender with the exception of Aphids on the flowering stems. The main diseases are Phoma and Botrytis as well as bacterial soft rot. These diseases are mainly associated with bad soils and humid damp climates.
1. Lavandula Angustifolia
Traditionally known as English lavender and is the hardiest of all species flowering in June and July. The species produces the best quality oils but in lower yields than some of the hybrids. Munstead is one of the good cultivars used.
2. Lavandula X Intermedia
This hybrid (Angustifolia x Latifolia) is most widely grown for commercial oil production. Plants can grow up to 130 cm in height. The main cultivar used is ‘Grosso’. The flower spikes are longer than Angustifolia with the flowering taking place in July and August.
In the first 2 to 3 years plants require light trimming with shears or hedge trimmer. Avoid trimming after September, as newly created wounds may not recover as growth ceases. Trimming and shaping plants in the early years is extremely important for the life of the plant.
Establishment Costs and Profit Margins
The establishment costs are high but the crop requires limited amounts of artificial nutrients which is a plus.
Different varieties of lavender are grown to provide both high-quality lavender oil and essential oils can be extracted on site with distilling equipment. Lavender can be sold dried or as bunches. Once established, growing costs are not very high but harvesting could be, especially if done by hand. The other key is having the right steam distillation equipment on hand to extract the oil immediately after harvesting. Each potential
producer should research and source a market before production.
Now for the Good Stuff
Lavender Bath Cream and Moisturising Cream
Lavender Bath Cream
Lavender Body Moisturizing Cream
Lavender Bath Moisturizer
Lovely Lavender Facial Toner
You can use this toner for the face, like a body spray, or use it on your pillowcase just before bed for lovely lavender dreams!
This recipe is about as lavender as one can get. It has a few different recipes within a recipe. You can choose to use all components or substitute with suggestions as desired.
Here is what you need:
**Lavender cordial (or 100 proof vodka)
**Lavender Hydrosol. Or use distilled water.
**Lavender essential oil (no need if you want a lighter scent and using the lavender distillate).
**Lavender Flower Essence (this is pure lavender energy to take it over the top for extra lavender vibration) You can make your own or buy from the fine folks at FES.
**4 oz glass mister bottle
Make lavender cordial by stuffing a jar with clean, dry, freshly harvested lavender flowers and pouring 100 proof vodka over top. Cover and steep for at least 6 weeks. Strain the plant material off and store your lavender vodka in a clean dark bottle. I love to add a few drops of this to a martini or to lemonade.
Save some of those lavender blossoms that you picked and make a flower essence with them. Flower essences are subtle, vibrational plant medicine. Infuse the flower that calls to you the most in a small shallow bowl. Sit with the flowers for a while if you can and see which ones call to you if any at all. Fill the bowl almost to the surface with good quality spring water. Drop the flowers onto the surface of the water and allow them to solarize in the sun, leaving their molecular imprint in the water. Allow the bowl to sit out in full sun for at least 2 hours. I have also done this process with some flowers in the full moonlight. Carefully remove the plant material without touching them, using two twigs or a leaf. Preserve your essence by filling a glass bottle halfway with your flower essence and half with 100 proof vodka. This is the Mother. Dilute this mother essence by putting 7 drops into a half ounce bottle and filling the rest with alcohol. This is your stock bottle. From this bottle take 7 drops and put into another half ounce bottle and fill with alcohol. This is the dosage bottle that you use for your medicine. Add 2 drops of this to your toner recipe.
To make your Lovely Lavender Toner, add 3 ounces of lavender hydrosol or distilled water. If adding lavender essential oil, use 10-30 drops depending on your preference. Add 2 drops of lavender flower essence. Top off with your lavender cordial. Shake well. Use as often as you wish.
Balancing Lavender Emotional Rescue Body Spray
Lavender is one of the most adaptable essential oils for creating aromatherapy blends. It pairs well with florally scented oils like geranium or musky, herbaceous base notes like patchouli. The benefits of lavender are equally adaptable, being refreshing and relaxing in kind. This body spray takes full of advantage of lavender’s remarkable properties to provide a refreshing emotional release.
4 drops patchouli essential oil
1 drop juniper berry essential oil
Lavender Solid Perfume
Solid perfume and scents are classic products that have always been popular because they are long-lasting and easy to carry and apply. They are perfect for travel because they are solid, not liquid. You can simply rub a bit of scent on your pulse points rather than spraying scent and the air around you. They are simple to make much like a lip balm or body butter. The scent of lavender mixes well with other popular scents such as vanilla, mint, rose and sweet orange. Have fun creating your own unique scent. MAKES 1 OUNCE
• 1 tablespoon grated beeswax
• 1 tablespoon almond oil
• 5 to 6 drops lavender essential oil (or your own combination of essential oils)
- Mix together the beeswax and almond oil and heat gently until melted in the microwave or on the stovetop on low heat.
- Stir well and add the lavender oil and pour into a small container with a tight-fitting lid.
- To use: Massage the scent into your pulse points or wherever you wish.
TIP: Fall Asleep Easier: If you are having trouble unwinding or falling asleep at night you may want to raise your bath temperature and add a few drops of lavender essential oil. The combination of a soothing scent and raising your core body temperature will help you calm down and rest. Just be careful as too hot of water temperature can be drying to your skin so make sure you follow up with a rich natural oil or moisturizing lotion.
Cooking With Lavender: Lemon Lavender Pie
27 hr 10 min
25 hr 30 min
Grate the zest of 2 large lemons; thinly slice the fruit into rounds. Discard seeds. Toss the zest and slices with 3/4 teaspoon dried lavender, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 2 cups sugar. Cover for 24 hours. The next day, beat 4 eggs and 4 tablespoons melted butter; stir into the filling. Pour into pie shell.
Perfect All-Butter Piecrust
Pulse 3 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Add 1 diced stick cold butter; process until combined. Add 2 more diced sticks cold butter; pulse three times, or until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 1 tablespoon white or cider vinegar. Gradually pour in 1/3 cup ice water, pulsing about four times until combined. Turn out onto a clean surface and press into a cohesive dough without overworking (you should see bits of butter). Wrap in plastic wrap and press into a 1-inch-thick disk; refrigerate at least 1 hour before rolling out.
How to Make a Pie
Divide the chilled dough in half; roll 1 piece into a 12-inch, 1/8-inch-thick circle on a lightly floured surface (refrigerate the other piece).
Roll the dough onto a rolling pin, then unroll it into a 9-inch glass pie plate, letting it hang over the edge; add filling.
Roll out the other piece of dough and place over the filling; press the crust edges together and trim, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Roll up or pinch the overhang to seal.
Place a foil-lined baking sheet on a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 450 degrees. Wrap an oiled, wide band of foil around the pie edge to protect the crust. Make slashes in the top of the crust; chill for 30 minutes.
Reduce the oven to 400 degrees. Bake the pie for 30 minutes. Remove the foil band, brush the crust with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until golden brown, about 30 minutes; cool before slicing.