With uses therapeutic, decorative and culinary, lavender’s lovely blooms and delicate fragrance can’t help but enhance everything it touches. The scent is often touted as a natural insect repellent, in addition to its soothing, relaxing aromatherapy properties. And a sprinkle of crushed flowers can add delicate floral notes to your favorite lemon desserts and drinks. With so many varieties of lavender, it can be overwhelming to find the one that’s best for your needs. As French lavender is native to Spain, English lavender is native to France, and Spanish lavender is native to North Africa, it’s easy to get confused! Your Haggen Garden Shop* offers an assortment of beautiful blooms that are Northwest-grown and ready to bring a spot of cheery color to your garden.
When you envision the waving purple fields of Provence, you’re picturing a hybrid of English lavender, or lavandin, particularly aromatic with buds that are easily removed for potpourri making. Favored in culinary concoctions, this type is fragrant when brushed against or crushed, and comes in a range of colors, including shades of purple, blue, pink and white.
Hardy in harsh, hot climates, this lavender has a bit of a different appearance from the tidy little buds found in other varieties. Each flowering stem has a large head with petals popping out of the top like rabbit ears. This variety is typically available in shades of violet and only rarely in pink. The oils are often extracted and bottled.
The lighter fragrance is popular in cosmetics and for decorative use, and the blooms of this type are especially vivid in a garden. Even the leaves have a lavender-rosemary scent, making it a good choice for dried bouquets and potpourri.
Processing the lavender:
1. Harvest lavender spikes when buds just start to open by grabbing a bunch of stems and cutting them near the body of the plant (not into the woody area). Secure the base of the bunch with a rubber band.
2. Hang bunches upside down to dry in a dark, well-ventilated space.
3. When completely dried, work the buds with your fingers to dislodge them into a large bowl. Tip: An easy way to knock off most buds is to put the secured bunch into a plastic bag and shake vigorously.
4. To add weight to the sachet and extend your supply of lavender buds, mix in uncooked rice grains at a 1:1 ratio.
5. Add a few drops of lavender oil to intensify and prolong the scent (optional) and mix well.
Creating the sachet:
1. Cut two 5″ squares of fabric. With right sides together sew shut on all sides, leaving a gap on one side to fill with lavender buds.
2. Turn inside out and press.
3. Fill with the lavender/rice mixture (creating a paper cone makes filling easier).
4. Sew the opening shut.