Lavender can be used for so many things

By Steve Smith

I couldn’t help but notice the other day while driving around town that lavender was coming into bloom. That got me thinking about growing lavender, choosing varieties and how to actually use the plant other than just to look at it. Lavender has been in production for over 2,500 years, and there is quite a bit of information out there to share.

Lavender hails from Western Europe, close to the Mediterranean Sea, and likes a similar climate to ours, as long as its feet don’t get too wet in the winter. Well-draining soil is a must, full sun as well, and if you really want to pamper it, apply some lime once a year. Lavender is drought tolerant, once established, and deer resistant. The one and only drawback is that it can look like a plucked chicken coming out of winter and can be short lived if you give it too much mulch and fertilizer.

There is English, Spanish and French Lavender. By far English Lavender, and its many hybrids, are the most popular. I checked our inventory history, and we have carried over three dozen varieties over the years but in reality, one-half dozen or so is plenty to choose from. Here are three new flavors that just came in.

•Hidcote Superior — This is an English variety that is an improvement over the tried and true plain ‘Hidcote’. It is a compact form of the original, reaching only 12- to 14-inches tall, with deep, purple-blue flowers. Like all lavenders, it is fragrant, attracts butterflies and will repel insects. •Super Blue — According to Monrovia Nurseries, this variety has “fragrant wands of rich lavender-blue flowers that deliver a soothing scent in early and midsummer. Super Blue is perfect for borders or containers with neat, compact foliage. The large, full blooms are excellent for cutting and drying”. ‘Super Blue’ grows to 12- to 20-inches tall.

•Wings of Night — This is a Spanish variety that forms an erect, dense shrub 2- to 3-feet tall with narrow blue-grey leaves. It blooms through spring and summer with short clusters of lavender flowers, each topped by a crown of showy purple bracts (the bracts look like small butterflies perched on the end of the stock). Here are a few more interesting facts about lavender from the website “Lavender Sense”… The ancient Greeks called Lavender “nardus,” and it was one of the holy herbs mentioned in the bible in the ‘Song of Solomon’. Lavender derives its name from the Latin ‘lavare’ meaning ‘to wash”. The Romans used Lavender to scent their baths, beds, clothes and even hair.

The oil is extracted from the flowers and used as a disinfectant, an antiseptic, an anti-inflammatory and for aromatherapy. An infusion of Lavender is claimed to soothe and heal insect bites, sunburns and small cuts, burns and inflammatory conditions and even acne. Dried Lavender flowers are used extensively for their fragrance, specifically as herbal fillers inside sachets to freshen linens, closets and drawers. Lavender can also deliver a floral, slightly sweet, and elegant flavor to foods.

Lavender is also just plain nice to have in your garden, and this is the perfect time to find your favorite varieties.

Steve Smith is the owner of Sunnyside Nursery in Marysville and can be reached at info@sunnysidenursery.net

More in Business

Life’s a holiday on Primrose Lane

By Steve Smith There is no doubt that spring has sprung. This… Continue reading

Be sure to be kissed by a rose by growing them correctly

By Steve Smith It’s that time of year when garden centers fill… Continue reading

Vote for your favorites in Marysville and Arlington

What are some of your favorite places in Marysville and Arlington? Through… Continue reading

Roses with roots show that your love will last longer than if they are cut. (Courtesy Photo)
Real Flower Power for Valentine’s Day is a gift with roots

By Steve Smith Traditionally speaking, Valentine’s Day is the “Christmas” season for… Continue reading

Gardeners can have a berry good time growing them in the NW

By Steve Smith It should be no surprise that our Northwest climate… Continue reading

Business briefly

Tribal purchase TULALIP – The Tulalip tribe recently acquired a seafood processing… Continue reading

It’s time to get down and dirty in the garden again

By Steve Smith Let’s face it, compared to other regions of our… Continue reading

PNW company buys Marysville Ford

MARYSVILLE – Kendall Automotive Group Inc. has acquired Marysville Ford and Marysville… Continue reading

Bare-root fruit trees. (Courtesy Photos)
Now, yes now, is the time to start thinking about fruit trees

By Steve Smith Believe it or not, by the end of this… Continue reading

Tips on getting garden ready for arctic blast 

By Steve Smith It looks like the next couple of weeks are… Continue reading

Vertical gardens, such as these strawberries, make good use of little space. (Courtesy Photos)
Garden trends for 2020 similar to last 5 years

By Steve Smith I have spent countless hours researching “trends for 2020”… Continue reading

Lemon tree very pretty. (Courtesy Photo)
Citrus can be grown in the Northwest

By Steve Smith We live in a horticultural paradise. There is very… Continue reading