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Thriving On Neglect

By Christa Terry

When I looked for a plant for my garden that would be as awesome as it would be hard to kill, I settled on lavender. With a rich history – it was used by the Egyptians in mummification, by the Romans in cooking and bathing, and medicinally during the Renaissance and thereafter – lavender is surprisingly easy to care for as it, as the post’s title suggestions, thrives on neglect. Lavender is a hardy, drought-tolerant perennial that will grow in poor soils, and I should mention that the lavender you pluck from your garden will look and smell just like the lavender you can buy bundled or in sachets on farmers’ market days.

Seriously, when I carelessly mow over the lavender stalks that hang out onto the lawn, the scent is delicious! That heady, sweet, instantly-recognizable scent doesn’t just attract people, however. Lavender attracts bees, so you can’t go wrong planting one or two by your vegetable garden where they’ll ensure that plenty of pollinators stop and pick up a load before moving on. Don’t trust yourself to plant and grow it? I heartily recommend The Sawmill Ballroom Lavender Farm Guide to Growing Lavender.

What to do with it when it’s grown? You could hang it to dry, fill a few sachets, and try selling them to yuppies at the farmers’ market *grin* Or, depending on the sort of lavender you choose to grow, and there are many different kinds, you could cook with it (classic English lavender or Hidcote), make perfume with it (Provence or Grosso), make an eye pillow, use it to flavor sugar, or use it in your bath. Of course, if you’re a bit lazy like me, you might just leave it in your garden where it will emit its subtle perfume whenever kicked, mowed over, or chewed on by a cat.

5 Responses to “Thriving On Neglect”

  1. Carol Says:

    I’ve grown lavendar for years in five or six separate gardens. Once it’s planted, there’s really nothing to do except enjoy it and harvest the flowers if you’d like.

    I’ve made sachets and eye pillows and cookies (yummy lavendar shortbread!) with the flowers. I’ve given bunches of the branches to the church youth group who made lavendar sugar scrub as a fundraiser. I’ve even made it into moth repellant bags for the closet. Many ways to use it, but my favorite way is just to let it grow and waft fragrance all over our lawn in the summer.

    Deer don’t like it, either, so it’s one of the few things I can grow outside the garden fence.

  2. Pam Says:

    I recently heard of a Lavender festival in a small town in Washington state. The pictures of whole fields of this flower were awesome!

  3. Christa Terry Says:

    @Carol I’m now crossing my fingers for mine, as they’re looking a little worse for wear after the big rains and winds we had. But my guess is that they’ll come back in time.

    @Pam Oh, that must be lovely! I always get a kick out of all the things for sale at fairs like that, though, when I have lavender right in my yard. Not to mention to lilacs, which one can apparently also buy in bunches at farmer’s markets and things.

  4. Margo Says:

    I made lavender & vanilla cupcakes recently – dead easy, and very delicious.

  5. Christa Terry Says:

    Link to the recipe, Margo?

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    Christa Terry
    (a.k.a. Never teh Bride)


    Manolo the Shoeblogger