Lavender is a flower that every time I see it I think of my Mother. She was fond of the color purple and always grew lavender in her garden.
In 1976 The Ohio Association of Garden Clubs Inc., assisted to create a garden at Wright State University in Fairborn to establish a ‘Garden for the Senses’ and Mom served on that committee. They selected the Lavender for smelling and touching. Members felt the garden is a magical place and should be enjoyed by everyone by the sounds, the smells, the taste and hearing.
Sensory gardens can make a great contribution to emotional and physical health. They can be beautiful places to relax, reflect, meditate, contemplate and talk. So, when choosing plants for the senses, Lavender was a choice of Mom’s.
The National Garden Bureau has chosen 2020 as the year of the Lavender. This plant is everywhere you look as people are incorporating the Lavender plant into their daily lives. It is seen in the garden as well as in kitchen and home décor. It’s a special part of health and wellness routines. The texture, scent, attractiveness and overall usability of lavender makes it one of the most versatile plants you can grow.
It is a member of the mint family which most common types is English Lavender and Spanish or French Lavenders.
English lavender is the hardiest in terms of garden performance. Several varieties we grown in zone 5 are Hidcote, Munstead or SuperBlue which have been trialed to overwinter in our zone. English lavender blooms sit on spikes rising tall above a gray-green base of leaves. Both the florets and foliage are heavily scented. The plants flower mostly in pink-purple colors but some silver-white varieties exist as well. While most varieties are dwarf growing 6-24 inches tall some can grow 3 to 6 feet tall.
Additional varieties of English lavender include Annet, Aromatico, Big Time Blue, Blue Spear, Ellagance, Lady, Sentivia, Sweet Romance, Vintro and others. Some Spanish and French varieties are Anouk, Castilliano, Javelin Forte, LaVela, Papillon and Primavera.
Lavender grows best in full sun and dry, well-drained soil. A tip is to use gravel or crushed rocks at the base of the plant for a better growing environment.
We enjoy growing lavender up close to a walkway so we can run our fingers through the soft foliage and enjoy the fragrance when we walk by.
The flowers and leaves of lavender plants are used in many herbal medicines and self-care regimes. Homemade projects and recipes include herbal teas, culinary spices, essential oils, aromatherapy, balms, and more. It is widely added to bath salts, soaps, soaks, and perfumes.
All of these uses add up to quite a versatile and enjoyable flower that’s become a must have in gardens and homes. It’s easy to make 2020 your Year of the Lavender.
Charlene Thornhill is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves The Daily Advocate readers weekly with her community column Along the Garden Path. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.