Guest Author Christopher Radko.
A timeless and aromatic plant, true lavender has been cultivated since the time of Cleopatra, who, it is said, considered it an aphrodisiac. Lavender is featured in Shakespeare’s sonnets, and English folk songs. Today, lavender is praised as an aromatherapeutic “swiss army knife” for your medicine chest. It is antifungal, antibacterial, and great for healing minor cuts and insect bites. It is an antiviral, as it helps heal cold sores. Lavender is an adaptogen: it adapts to your needs, bringing you back to your ideal center. If you’re blue, it will lift your spirits, and if you’re stressed, it will calm you down. It repels moths, and its fragrance is always a welcomed addition to your garden.
For the past ten years, I have been growing organic true lavender in Poland. There is nothing like walking through a field of purple lavender flowers on a warm sunny day. Pure bliss! True lavender (lavandula angustifolia) is medicinal, perfume, and food-grade. True lavender is different than hybrid lavender, the lower grade cousin to true lavender. Cheap Hybrid lavender, which alas, is passed off in the American market as the real thing, is high in camphor, and can burn your skin. Curiously, Hybrid lavender is sterile, and must be cloned. (yikes!) whereas true lavender produces an abundance of seeds. From my organic true lavender essential oil, I’ve been working on a marvelous collection called “Wild Lavender – by Christopher Radko” which introduces healing lotions, moisturizing soaps, body washes, massage oil/after shave, lush body butter, sugar scrubs, bath salts, and perfume candles. “Wild Lavender” will start to ship to stores and sell on line this summer. Come see my new site: www.RadkoHudsonOrganics.com .
You can easily grow true lavender (lavandula angustifolia) in your own garden. The purple flowers can be dried for sachets, potpourri, tea, or cooking spice ( herbes de provence). You can start from seed, with many French and English varieties such as Hidcote and Munstead to choose from, or you can pick up small plants at your local nursery. The main thing about lavender is good drainage, and full all day sun. Lavender does not need rich soil, but prefers alkaline soil. Lavender is bee and butterfly friendly, and deer leave them alone, which is a great benefit. Insects and diseases rarely disturb lavender, so it is easy to grow organically, too.
Here’s to loving lavender! – Christopher Radko