Wednesday, 22 June 2016

5 reasons...to grow lavender


Think lavender is just for old ladies? Think again.

5 REASONS....TO GROW LAVENDER 

1. It looks and smells great
You don't have to love Prince to appreciate a nice burst of purple in the garden or indoors - certainly makes a nice change from all the green succulents and hardy shrubs that are so popular these days, and it means you'll always have some flowers on hand to pop in a vase without spending a cent. The fragrance is lovely and relaxing too, making it a quick, non-toxic and cheap way to freshen up any room; and you can even use it to decorate a table setting or add as a finishing touch to a wrapped present.

2. It's super easy to grow
You can buy lavender seeds or plants, but better yet simply take a softwood cutting from a neighbour in spring, stick it in a pot and watch it take on a new life. You can then transfer to the garden later if you wish. It's a very resilient, low maintenance plant so perfect for those who struggle to keep anything in the garden alive. Why not grow a few cuttings in pots that you can then give to friends as gifts? 

3. You'll help save the bees
If you weren't already aware, the worldwide bee population is in serious trouble due to diseases, pesticides and a reduction in flowers everywhere, thanks to drought resistant plants like succulents being all the rage. If the bees disappear we lose more than honey - our food crops which rely on bee pollination will be drastically affected meaning globally our food supply is in danger. Bees particularly love flowers with strong colours such as purple, so lavender will not only make them happy as they can get a good collection of nectar, but they'll also be more likely to hang around your garden and pollinate the flowers of any edible plants or trees you have which will result in fantastic harvests for you too.

4. It's a tasty culinary herb
Lavender margaritas anyone? Be the coolest kitchen cat around by using dried or fresh lavender in your cooking. There are stacks of recipes available on the internet that incorporate the flower such as cakes, teas, salads, cheese and cocktails - even the old lamb roast can be given a fresh twist with it instead of rosemary. Plus, it can also double as a nice garnish on the plate - fancy!

5. It's good for you 
Scientific studies have proven that lavender scent can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and even things like headaches and labour pains; so if you're feeling a bit down get into the garden, take a seat next to your lavender plant and breathe deeply. If you're particularly handy you can go even further by creating your own lavender essential oil which you can then use in concentrated form on your skin or in creams, baths, candles, surface sprays, linen fresheners and more.

Did you know...
There are 39 different types of lavender that range in shape and colour? The purple English variety (shown above) is the most common and is considered the sweetest for flavour.    

photo credit: Echter Lavendel (Lavandula angustifolia) via photopin (license)

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