Of the medicinal and cosmetic herbs, Lavender is perhaps one of the most well-known. Loved by gardeners world-wide for its scent and attractive silvery green leaves, this herb is easily adapted to most garden spaces. Whether you have a small patio space or large all-purpose garden, Lavender's fragrant purple blooms add an element of tranquillity.
Lavender does well in sunny, open area's with well-drained soil and lends itself nicely to potted gardens. As there are a variety of species, varying in height from 18 inches to 3 feet, it is often used for hedges and borders. Depending on climate, Lavender should be sown from seed in late summer/early fall and can handle winter temperature of up to -30, if covered.
It is recommended that the flowers be harvested as they open and left to dry. Altenatively (and depending on the purpose) the entire stem and leaves can be cut and bundled then left to hang and dry.
Bremness. L. (1989). The complete book of herbs: A practical guide to growing & using herbs. Montreal, QC. The Reader's Digest Association.
Today I want to provide you with a couple options for using your dried Lavender.
The first of which is the 'scent pillow'. Provided you have needle and thread and scraps of cloth, this one is quite simple and adds a wonderful frangrance to armoires and linens, and can be tucked under your own pillow to waft sweetly during the night. Start by cutting two same shaped (can be circle, square or heart-shaped) pieces from the cloth, and laying them facing each other (so the pattern is inside). Stitch neatly around the outside edge leaving a small opening at the top, a couple inches in diameter. Now turn the sachet inside out so the pattern is now on the outside. You can fill the 'pillow' with your dried Lavender and finish stitching the opening closed. Try adding lace or a decorative handle. These make great gifts and are limited in design only by the materials on hand.
The second project is a Lavender Sleep Salve, and it is pure bliss massaged into your feet right before bed! There are two "recipes" included as we will make our own Lavender Infused Oil to use in the salve.
Lavender Infused Oil
Place the dried herbs in a clean quart jar and top with oil of choice (I use Extra Virgin Olive Oil as it has a long shelf life). Place the sealed jar on a shelf or windowsill in a sunny, but out of the way location, shaking frequently to ensure thorough infusion. After a couple weeks you can strain the herbs out of the oil using cheesecloth or a coffee filter. Ensure you place them in a clean, sealed jar until ready to use.
Lavender Sleep Salve
For your salve you will require the following ingredients:
1/4 Cup Lavender Infused Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Coconut Oil
1/4 Cup Cocoa Butter
1/4 Cup grated Beeswax (I use pellets)
15-30 drops Lavender Essential Oil
Start by placing all of the above ingredients, except the essential oil, in the top of a double boiler over low heat. Stir frequently as it melts and immediately remove from heat as soon as the last of the ingredients dissolve. Do not over heat. Allow to sit for 1 minute then add Lavender Essential Oil to desired potency, stirring to mix. Pour into small jar or travel tins of preference and use at your leisure! This salve also makes a beautiful gift and is a must have for anyone with sore, achy feet.