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Indulging my interest in food and flavor, I love to write about cooking, gardening and life's bounty. My new book - "Discover Cooking with Lavender"- is now available

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Myth, Magic and Majesty of Lavender: Ten Reasons to Love this Herb

1.The colorful flowers attract my attention first. The lavender plants in my garden tease me with their showy purple spikes that bloom in early summer. We mostly visualize the colors of blue and purple when we think of lavender, although some varieties do have white flowers and other are pink.

2.While lavender’s appearance is a visual treat, its rich history intrigues my intellect. Cleopatra, anointing her body with lavender oil, seduced Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. In the very early literature on herbal healing, lavender shows up as a sedative, a treatment for migraines and as an antiseptic for cleaning wounds. Lavender appears in monastery gardens, in the castles of queens and kings and in sick rooms during the bubonic plague.

3.The fragrance of lavender is seductive. Described as clean, fresh and pine-like, the scent is penetrating, long-lasting and unforgettable. After working in my garden, I like to crush lavender leaves in my hands and revel in the flowery perfume.

4. I love the shape of these evergreen plants. The symmetry pleases my eye’s desire for order. In the summer, the flower spikes reach up and out as if they were trying to touch the sky. In a summer breeze, the flowers gracefully sway back and forth like a child’s swing.

5. True lavender honey tastes sweet and slightly floral. Bees dance around my lavender plants, attracted like magnets to its sweet nectar. I love sweetening fresh berries with a tiny amount of lavender honey for an extraordinary treat.

6. Never needy, lavender only asks for two things: warm sunshine and dry, well-drained soil.

7. Lavender reminds me that our universe is abundant. It thrives in many places around our planet such as in Sequim on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and on the island of Hokkaido in the Japanese Alps. Maui’s Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm, with buds in bloom throughout the year, tops my list as the most beautiful place in the world for enjoying fields of lavender.

8. A good partner, lavender enhances chocolate, citrus fruits and berries: Dark chocolate infused with lavender offers an exotic, slightly mysterious tone; a pink grapefruit sprinkled with lavender sugar makes the grapefruit taste tropical; blueberries topped with lavender-infused cream tantalize my taste buds.

9. The fanciful names given to lavender farms amuse and entertain me. Crowsfeet Lavender Farm, Frog Rock Lavender Farm, Rusty Acres, and Sawmill Ballroom Lavender Farm are a few of my favorites. I must also mention Shooting Star Lavender Farm located in Oregon, named for the shooting stars often seen in the northern sky.

10. Popular, attractive and pleasing, lavender is the homecoming queen of herbs. Lavender celebrations begin in May in Texas and continue through June in California and July in Oregon and Washington. In December, New Zealand and Australia host tourists at lavender farms such as The Lavender Patch and Bridestow Lavender Farm. Lavender even has its very own fairy: Cicely Mary Barker created the Lavender Fairy in 1923, capturing the natural charm of this evocative herb.


sayli said...

very nicely written!

sayli said...

very nicely written!