Tuesday, July 3, 2012

So Sweet the Mid Summer Lavender.....

The heated air of mid summer is filled with the scents of lavender and rosemary.

Outside our front door is a lavender lined walkway that invites a passing touch. I cannot resist pulling off a few flowered stems releasing that lavender perfume into my hand, as I walk through the morning garden. James and I grow two types of English Lavender (L. angustifolia), Munstead and Hidcote.

Pliney the Elder, wrote of lavender's medicinal uses. Ancient Romans noted it's healing qualities and used it for washing. In the time of Nero, 77 AD., the Greek military physician Discordes used it on battlefield wounds, as did the medics in World War I.
And of Nero, I wonder if his Golden Palace was filled with lavender?

Lavender has long been considered to have healing qualities, from use as perfume by the ancient Egyptians and Romans to medicinal use by monks in Medieval Europe continuing into the Renaissance with hopes of preventing plague ( that hope was not realized). Victorian England was awash in the stuff. Still today, lavender is used with the thoughts that the oils quell stress and aid in sleep and so on.

All I really know is that I love it in the garden and I adore the fragrance.
Bees love it too, so when it is time to harvest it is always a competition with the bees. I always yield to the bees.

Although we do harvest some of our lavender to dry, we mainly grow it because we love having it in the garden. We can barely bring ourselves to cut it at it's prime, when that mist
of blue- violet is just beginning. But, when the deep freeze of January and February roll around, the summer scent of dried lavender is so, so welcome.

As for rosemary, another fragrant herb that thrives in our mid summer garden, that my friends finds it's way into our kitchen . With the chives having gone by, cut back and waiting for that second crop, we turn to rosemary, adding it to roasted potatoes and vegetables, lamb, grilled chicken, etc...... mid summer cooking at it's best.

No comments: