Lavender is one of my favorite plants. It is drought resistant, deer resistant, supplies lovely flowers, and grows quickly. It also can be grown in Phoenix! -especially if given morning sun only.
Here is the one I planted last fall. It was just a small plant (probably a four to six inch pot). And now it is a solid four feet across. (I gave it enough room to get 6 to 8 feet round. I don’t like to crowd my plants.)
Today before sunrise, since it gets the first rays and I don’t like the intense Phoenix sun beating down on me, I harvested the flowers.
Just snip, snip with the scissors and drop into a paper bag for drying.
I throw the bag into my car to dry. It makes the car smell wonderful also.
This is what my plant looked like once it was trimmed. You’ll want to take off the extra stems as well as the flower heads. A pile of the stems can be seen on the left side of the picture. In California, if you harvest the flowers early enough, the plant will put out a second bloom. It won’t be as many as the first, but always nice to get more lavender.
When the lavender is dried, which won’t take long here in Phoenix, you just strip the flowers off the stems and compost the stems. I recommend waiting for a day when you are depressed, anxious, or a little out of sorts. Nothing like the aromatherapy of stripping lavender to settle ones nerves and elevate ones mind.
The scent of lavender directly influences our limbic system. The limbic system is a part of our brain that regulates autonomic function such as breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate. It also regulates our hormone system and is involved in some aspects of memory as well.
Smelling lavender can reduce stress hormones levels and anxiety, improve mood and sleep, and reduce pain! If you want to read more, here is a link to a nice scientific review of lavender use.
Once I have the dried flowers, I could make tea from them, but my favorite thing to do is to make sachets.
Here is a picture of my latest batch in progress. These are the future front panels of the sachets,
This is the solution to “my what to give away at my book signings” problem that I talked about earlier this week in the post Temptations.
Sure beats glow sticks!
Peir Hossein Koulivand, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadiri, and Ali Gorji, “Lavender and the Nervous System,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 681304, 10 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/681304