We grow over 50 cultivars and three species of lavender – a small fraction of what exists in the plant world
Growing lavender was inspired by a love of growing herbs. Lavender is one of the most versatile and well-known herbs of all time – its use can be dated back to Roman times. Lavender is an herb that’s both seductive and useful in many forms.
The Lavandula Species
The Lavandula species comes from the large plant family of mints (Labiatiae, syn. Lamiaceae). It’s related to culinary and herbal tea mints, sage – both ornamental and culinary, marjorms, thymes, and horehounds. Lavender buds and corrollas can be used in both savory and sweet dishes, making it a great addition to one’s culinary and medicinal herb garden.
And, apart from being a wonderful landscape plant, lavender’s essential oil and hydrosol can be used in bath and beauty products. Lavender truly has attributes of endless possibilities.
History of Lavender
For centuries, lavender has been distilled for its oil and used in perfumes, cosmetic products, aromatherapy, ointments and tinctures, and in food processing. The ancient Egyptians used this treasured herb in their mummification processes and constructed stills to extract the essential oil. The Romans routinely used lavender in perfumed oils, for bathing, for cooking and to freshen the air.
Even though there have been 2,500 years of recorded use, it’s unsure where exactly the plant originated from. History does show that lavender has been cultivated and grown wild in France, Spain and Italy since 600 BC. Lavender’s first recorded arrival in North America tells us the herb was brought by pilgrims in 1600s, around the same time lavender was introduced to England on a commercial level.
Over the centuries, lavender has been used therapeutically in soothing baths and washes, as a calming agent, and inhaled to relieve headaches and dizziness. Lavender’s herbal lore has been validated by modern medicine – Its oil has chemical compounds that have been scientifically shown to be a natural antiseptic and is effective in fighting against hyperactivity, and insomnia.
Today, lavender remains among the most versatile herbs. You can find it in candles, herb pillows, diffusers, flower wands, bouquets, sachets, soaps, wreaths, incense and potpourris, and beyond. Lavender essential oil continues to be used in perfumes, tinctures, bath oils and shampoos. We use the flower in aromatic vinegars, marinades and herb blends, and it’s also used as a flavor to conserves, liqueurs, jellies, ice cream and desserts.