Lavender is a woody perennial that will grow in almost any kind of soil, as long as it is drains well, and it can handle anything from high-moisture areas to Xeriscaping. It prefers full sun and though one source I read said it only handles temperatures to about 0 F or -15 C, It grows fine in my area, where it often gets below zero for part of the winter.
I’ve been told if you trim back the bush after the blooms are finished for the season, you can often get another set of blooms later in the summer, and some varieties actually bloom for most of the summer. There are many varieties and each has slightly different properties, so check and see what you can learn about strains available in your area.
The plants live up to ten years and can be started by seed (a method that is somewhat unreliable, but possible) or by taking cuttings in July or August and rooting them. These plants do best if you baby them in a green house or inside over the winter and plant them out in the spring.
There are many medical applications for lavender oil: it can be rubbed on the temples to cure headaches; it has been used as a psychological calming agent to help people sleep or relax; it is a powerful antidote to some snake venoms; it is so antibacterial, it will kill typhoid, diphtheria, and strep germs, among many others. The essential oils are also used to treat sunburns, and as an insect repellent.
The leaves, petals, and flowering tips can be used raw in salads (in small quantities as they do have a strong flavor), and can be used as flavoring in many dishes from ice cream, to cakes, lemonades, and in meat marinades and vinegars among other uses. You can use the plant, either fresh or dried to make herbal teas, too.
I made a lavender-flavored custard for Sunday night dessert, and everyone liked it. Check on the web for lavender recipes—there are hundred of them out there.Join the Neighborhood Newsletter . . . Subscriptions are free and joining is easy. Just by signing up and maintaining your subscription to receive the yourLDSneighborhood.com newsletter, you become eligible for our "Thank You" prizes. Our dozens of giveaways range from a trip for two to China, to iPods® (each with a $50 gift certificate for LDS music), cruises, and more.
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