Somerset Lavender

When we think of lavender, we often think of the purple fields stretching into the distance in Provence. But lavender is grown commercially in this country too and the lavender we use for our lavender bags is grown locally in Somerset. That’s the bit that I find particularly exciting!

Talking to the local growers, I learned so much about this wonderful herb.

There are lots of different varieties of lavender, some are used for culinary purposes and other varieties are better suited for beauty products and fragrance. Because of its versatility, lavender is a hugely popular plant. I love growing it because it attracts the bees and butterflies; in fact, our path can be quite noisy with the sound of buzzing in the summer!

This ancient herb was used as far back as the Greek and Roman times to scent the bathwater and its name derives from the Latin word lavare, meaning to wash. Over the centuries it’s been grown in gardens for its many uses around the home.

Lately it’s seen a revival in the culinary world and there are lots of delicious recipes to explore (something for a future post).

Lavender’s medicinal properties are well known but I was surprised at how many different remedies it can be used for. The flower has been infused as a tea to soothe headaches, calm nerves, ease flatulence, dizziness and halitosis. Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) is the most versatile of all essential oils. Most commonly known for its relaxing effects on the body, therapeutic-grade lavender has been highly regarded for the skin. The essential oil has antiseptic properties and can be used on insect bites and stings. Blended for use as a massage oil in aromatherapy, it can be used for throat infections, skin sores, inflammation, rheumatic aches, anxiety, insomnia and depression. In fact, the list goes on!

Around the house the dried flowers are loved for their insect repellent properties and long-lasting fragrance.

Used for centuries, I can see why lavender remains such a popular garden plant, from cottages to stately homes; it should be in every enthusiast’s garden.