Wayside Gardens monthly
 
  The name lavender is derived from the Latin word ‘lava’, meaning to wash. It is a herb and belongs to Labiatae, the mint family.
  The most common species in cultivation is the Common Lavender, whose valid scientific name is Lavandula angustiflolia Miller (1768.) also known by its invalid L. officinalis name.
   Other commonly grown ornamental species are L. stoechas, L. dentata, and L. multifida cultivated in gardens and containers worldwide.
   Because its uses are multiple it is grown commercially for the lavender oil that is extracted from the flowers. When we think of lavender we think of parfums, sachets, bath oils, lotions and many other wonder smelling things. We use it for wreaths, dried flower arrangements and even in our food.
   The flower spikes are used for dry flower arrangements and potpourris. Sprinkle some in your clothing drawers to chase away moths. The oil is used as an antiseptic and aromatherapy. In Roman times when the black plague ran amok the glove makers impregnated their leathers with the oil to ward off the plague. This often worked since the plague was transmitted by fleas and the lavender oil repels fleas.
   Lavender is also used for many medical remedies such as sooth insect bites and ward off insects. The oil rubbed on the temple brings relief from a headache, a tea can be used to ‘comfort the stomach’ and relax you before bedtime.
   It is said it can be used to prevent faintness, nervous palpitations, spasms and colic.
I was amazed to find right here in Central Utah that The Young Living Farms consist of a 115 acre lavender farm and a restaurant, "The Whispering Springs Grill" famous for their "lavender" food! They have lavender sugar, butter and such delightful foods like Lavender fian, Lemon-lavender sorbet, Lavender roasted vegetable and right out of the over Lavender short dough cookies! Visit their site for more.
   You can grow lavender from seed or soft wood cuttings. I purchased mine since I love instant color. You do need to give your lavender some care if you want the full benefit of your plants. In the spring clean up your plant and remove all the dead growth. After flowering in the summer trim it back again.
  In the autumn cut back the ensuring that you do not cut into the old wood. Check the varieties you plant as some will need protection in the winter months. Remember you can always grow lavender plants in containers.
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