Lavender

Lavender

All the trends for 2018 point to lavender. Purple is the ‘new colour of health’, as well as the choice of Pantone’s trendsetters. Foodies flirting with ‘botanical’ flavours are experimenting with lavender lattes, and the world-wide focus on wellness underscores lavender’s pre-eminent position as one of the best natural remedies for urban stress, anxiety and depression.

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Our own move towards heat- and drought-tolerant plants remind us of lavender’s Mediterranean nature and its affinity with succulents, needing the same sunny, well-drained growing conditions. It is a durable plant for containers, which become trendier by the year.  For the ‘grow-your-own’ movement, lavender is a valuable companion plant that attracts pollinators while distracting other pests in search of luscious vegetables.

Lavender has shaken off its old-fashioned image (no more ladies in lavender), and is bang up to date with our health, wellness, lifestyle and gardening requirements for 2018.

Lavender in Containers

Container gardening remains the leading garden trend, with plant-filled pots used as garden and patio décor. Not surprising, considering that millennials and retirees, who are our two biggest groups, are the most likely to live in smaller spaces. Lavender is a showy, tough and fragrant plant for pots, which do best when placed in semi-shade and even bright shade. A pot of fragrant lavender in full bloom can fill an entire balcony or patio with their lovely perfume.

Lavender for the Garden

Lavender ticks all the boxes when choosing plants for pollinators, for the senses, for low water-usage, and for low maintenance. Newly planted lavender needs to be well watered, but once established it only needs deep watering once a week. Drip irrigation is particularly suitable because lavender prefers water at root level. Wet foliage becomes susceptible to fungus diseases. For informal planting space bushes 45cm – 90cm apart. For hedging, plant up to 60cm apart.

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Culinary Lavender

Less is more when it comes to using lavender as a flavouring. Just a hint of it perfumes desserts, hot or cold drinks, or baked goodies, but too much and the taste is like soap!

To make lavender syrup: In a small saucepan combine ½ cup honey, ½ cup water and 4 – 5 lavender flower sprigs. Simmer and stir until the honey is dissolved. Strain and chill before using.

Try this: Lavender vodka spritzer

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine two tots of vodka, one tot of lavender syrup and freshly squeezed lemon juice. If it is not sweet enough, add more syrup. Shake until well mixed and strain into a cocktail glass, and top with a splash of club soda, with a sprig of lavender to garnish.

Lavenders for Wellness

Lavender is best known as an anti-stress herb. To lift depression, relieve nervous tension, insomnia and even phobias, sip a soothing lavender tea or make a tincture, taking small amounts 2 – 3 times a day. By stimulating the blood flow, lavender helps to reduce headaches and migraines, which are often related to stress. This soothing effect also works on the digestion, relieving colic, wind and bloating.

As a first aid herb, lavender’s anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties make it effective in treating cuts, burns, stings, bruises, and eczema, as well as many aches and pains.

For more information on lavender, visit: www.healthyliving-herbs.co.za

With about 10 varieties available at Lifestyle Home Garden, you are sure to find a Lavender to suit your garden space! Just ask one of our friendly sales advisors for assistance in finding your fave lavender.

Supplied by The Gardener Magazine. For more on lavender click |HERE| or on the cover of the April issue of The Gardener.

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