When you think of herbs often times you think of the major culinary ones…rosemary, oregano, parsley, thyme, and cilantro. Lavender sometimes gets overlooked when it comes time to do the planting in a home herb garden. It gets relegated to the “pretty” category and forgotten in favor of the ones that will be soon be in your grandma’s famous spaghetti sauce. But give lavender another look, it’s relatively easy to grow and has lots of uses around the house, aside from just looking pretty and smelling nice, though it definitely does those things well.
Lavender is a Natural Disinfectant, Antiseptic, and Bug Repellant
Boom! This plant is powerful. The lavender plant is already well known for its calming and soothing uses as an essential oil, in lotions and bath and beauty products. The essential oil mixed with a bit of water or white vinegar can also be used as a natural disinfectant on surfaces and even on your hands. Lavender essential oil is the swiss army knife of oils. The live plant is also very useful to have on hand.
Crushing the plants and rubbing the oils on your arms and legs can serve as a fly and mosquito repellent while you’re outside working in the rest of the garden. It can also be used to soothe bug bites, stings, and the occasional scrape. Blending the flowers into homemade lotion or soap can help soothe a sunburn too.
Lavender is a Culinary Herb Too
The fragrant and flowering plant is not often thought of as edible, but it certainly is and it makes a great addition to recipes, especially baked goods. You can add a bit to cakes and frostings for a special occasion treat that tastes like it came from the expensive bakery in town. I absolutely love lavender in my chicken noodle soup…along with my herbs de Provence.
It also makes a wonderful calming hot tea that can help you relax for bedtime. A sprinkle of lavender in lemonade or while brewing iced tea is also quite refreshing and soothing on hot days.
If you’re feeling especially adventurous, it can even be used in salad dressings, syrups, sauces, and fresh made jams or jellies. My favorite is a little bit added to the blackberry jam on canning day – spread a bit of that on your toast in the morning, it’s simply amazing.
Fragrance, Gifts, and Pretty Things
It wouldn’t do to leave out all the things that smell nice and look pretty in your garden. I know that when you concentrate on growing food you forget the flowers. If not for the previous owner of my home I doubt I would have all the pretty flowers and ornamentals that I currently do. Now I adore fresh cut flowers. The freshly picked blooms from your herb garden will far outperform anything you buy at the store.
If you need a quick gift on the fly for a hostess or for a friend, you can make a lavender wreath, a scented sachet for laundry, a bit of potpourri, a custom herbal eye mask, or just cut off a transplant and put it into a pretty pot or mason jar to give them their own plant to grow. What gift recipient would not adore this?
Around your own house you can freshen the carpets with dried flowers, make a room spray with the dried flowers and essential oils, and decorate with fresh blooms in vases alongside a few other wild flowers or all on their own. I love a collection of milk glass vases all together with sprigs of lavender. The white and purple looks so classy and elegant.
If you’re just looking to relax, a lavender bath is great for your skin. The great thing here is you can experiment with different forms of the plant in the bath – you can add fresh or dried sprigs to the hot water, or you can use the essential oil and some Epsom salts. No matter how you use it here, it’s sure to be relaxing and rejuvenating.
Now that we’ve gone over a few of the reasons you might want to plant some lavender in your home herb garden, it’s time to go out and play in the dirt and make a little space for a few plants. You’ll be glad you did.