Finally, a breather from the hustle and bustle of the last two months harvesting a banner crop of lavender this year, here at Blooming Hill. Now, with the crop nicely tucked away in the shop, it's time to get down to business and make bath salts, potpourri, sachets, candles, ice cream and whatever else these lovely purple buds can grace with their beauty and fragrance. While I sit here and think about all of the crafts and things I can create with lavender, the thought also occurred to me that I never really talk specifically about lavender the plant.
Anyway, now that I've re-gathered myself, first, a little classification lesson about lavender. Think about this as sort of a family tree that keeps branching off into smaller and smaller units. Lavender is part of the mint family (Lamiaceae) which also includes other herbs like rosemary and thyme, all characterized by their square stem. Lavender is it's own genus, a generic term for a type of plant which, in this case, is called Lavandula. It is made up of around 40 different species or smaller families like, angustifolia or intermedia. Within these families there are literally hundreds of varieties or, once again putting it simply, family members like Lavandula x intermedia 'Grosso' or Lavandula angustifolia 'Royal Velvet'. Following me so far? Hope so, because that is about as complicated as I'm going to get--on the names of the family members, I mean--all of them, however, are model children, I might add. The kind every parent dreams of.
(Note: My descriptions of lavenders are based purely on my observations of their performance in my own gardens and with the help of a little research, here and there through the years, to boot. I do not claim to be an expert on lavender, just a gardener who has had a particular interest and love for this plant commonly referred to as lavender for the last 20 years. I consider the lavenders in my gardens a collection I'm fortunate to have and will continue collecting them through the coming years as long as we have room for them to grace the gardens here at Blooming Hill.)