Lavender

Lavender love

My love of lavender began while living in France. The decadent rows of it in the south of France and all the creams and potions were just divine. However, it wasn’t until I moved back home and visited Sequim (pronounced Squeem not seqeem), Washington that I seriously thought about having a lavender farm, a dream that might still come to fruition but very hard to do in Georgia. The Pacific Northwest although rainy, has some of the best in the country and the entire town of Sequim thrives and is dedicated to this dynamic herb. After losing industry in the community they decided to plant fields of the plants  and voila a thriving festival and businesses bloomed.

Lavender History

The history of aromatherapy is thanks to this aromatic herb. Rene Gattefosse burned his hand and used the oil to stop the pain. It healed the hand without scarring or infection. However, the French have the Romans to thank for Provence’s abundance of  farms. The Romans introduced the herb to France. It is thought that the name comes from Latin “lavare” to wash of ‘livendulo” livid or bluish. Before World War 1 the French government cleared the almond orchards. They replaced them with lavender in the hopes of keeping the population there instead of fleeing.

Lavender Uses

In ancient Egypt the flowers were used for embalming, cosmetics, massage oils and as perfume. Egyptians would put it on their heads. The Greeks would anoint their feet. According to the Greek Philosopher Diogenes “When you anoint your head with perfume, it flies away in the air and only the birds get the benefit of it, whilst if I rub it on my lower limbs it envelopes my whole body and gratefully ascends to my nose”. During Nero’s time it was used for indigestion, headaches and to clean wounds. It is said that the plant was first domesticated in the Arab world. They dominated the Mediterranean culture, specifically Spain and from there lavender spread. Fast forward to the Middle Ages and it was used to raise money for King Edward 1. King Charles V1 of France stuffed his pillows with the flower buds. It was also used to treat lice and other pests.

Lavender has been a cure all for centuries, from linen, to inciting passion, repelling insects etc. etc.It takes approximately 175 lbs of the flower buds to make one ounce of essential oil. Lavender hand cream is the second product I made and the first featured in a national magazine. You will find it in skin therapy blended with lime essential oil. Our cleansing oil and lavender mist also contain the essential oil. This essential oil is the most widely used oil probably due to its medicinal properties. I love it because it is relaxing and makes me dream ;).

 

 

columbine flower

columbine1Columbine is a native wildflower to North America and is in the same family as the buttercup.  Its name comes from Latin meaning dove like (Columba) and eagle (Aquilegia its scientific name). Symbolism of the flower ranges from foolishness to seduction. It is that state flower of Colorado. There it is actually illegal to uproot the flowers on public land and you are limited to picking 25 flowers. Medicinally the petals have been used an astringent, soothing sore throats and Native America used the petals in tea to treat heart ailments. The flowers are edible and are quite sweet. They are pollinated by bumblebees and hawk moths and are dined upon by hummingbirds. The photo is my columbine in my window box that just bloomed.

 

 

apples

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Apples, did you know there are over 7500 varities world wide? It is the number one fruit eaten in the U.S. and rightly so. With no fat, sodium or cholesterol it is only 80 calories and 25% of it is water, that is why they float. It takes 36 apples to make one gallon of cider. And did you know the largest producers of apples is China?

This blossom is from one of my two apple trees in my backyard and it has yet to produce a harvest. It takes about 5-6 years to produce fruit, and as I am not quite patient, I do enjoy the beautiful blooms. Polinated by bees, I try and plant bee loving plants around the yard.

mums & fall planting

mums (2)When my mums start blooming in the backyard I know it is time to order bulbs for fall planting. Now is the best time to go on line and get bulbs, there are so many deals going on and one I have been happy with is Dutch Bulbs. I plant them outside and inside in pots. Mums are second to roses for the most popular flower, probably because of their longevity once placed in water. Chrysanthemums, mums, began their journey to Europe 2500 years ago from China. Considered as one of the Four Noble Ones, symbolizing the 4 seasons, they are grown with plums, bamboo and orchids. Its original color was gold therefore the Greeks named them chrysos for gold and anthos meaning flower. Buddhist monks took them to Japan in 400 AD where the emperors fell in love with the flower and sat of thrones of mums. There still exists a Festival of Happiness that celebrates mums. Mums can to the US in the 19th century and because the official flower of Chicago.

daphne

My daphnes are blooming late this year, i.e. 6 weeks late. If you have never smelled a daphne it should be on your bucket list. This beauty packs a powerhouse of aromatic sweet decadence. Native to Asia, they are similar to rhododendrons and peonies in that they thrive for years when left alone. Their fragrance will fill the entire garden, a sweet citrus aroma. Along with azaleas and rhododendrons they are toxic so caution when having children and pets around them.

daphnepost

redbud

It is Redbud time in my backyard!  Also known as Judas tree as it was thought that Judas Iscariote hanged himself on the tree and that is the reason the flowers turned from white to red for his shame and blood. Native to the South, the bark of the tree was used by Native Indians used the inner bark to make a yellow dye  and the roots to make red dye and used the tea from the bark for medicinal purposes such as dysentery. Cardinals like the seeds and apparently some squirrels. What I love about the tree are the different colors, pink blossoms and heart shaped purples leaves. Check out my pinterest page for all the is blooming in my backyard.

 

redbud