Here at the Secret Garden we grow 9 different varieties of lavender: Munstead, Hidcote, Sharon Robersts, Betty's Blue, Elizabeth, Royal Velvet and Violet Intrigue. When you visit you can find the names of each varietal posted on a sign at the beginning of each row. Currently we have over 6,000 lavender plants in production.
Benefits of Lavender
Lavender is considered the most useful of all essential oils. It is known to help relieve headaches, insomnia, tension and stress. It's therapeutic properties have been well chronicled all over the world. Originally an inhabitant of the Mediterranean countries, this perennial herb has long been recognized for its exotic perfume and medicinal properties. Today the essential oil of lavender is widely used across Europe and North America for a number of illnesses and medical problems.
Using Cut Lavender
Arrangements: Fill a vase about a third full of cool water. Trim just the ends of the lavender stems if they are ragged or damaged before dropping them lightly into your vase. Change the water every day, and keep your flowers out of direct sunlight to help them last longer. Your bouquet will last for about two weeks Dried bundles - preserving flowers: To extend the life - and options- for your lavender flowers, dry them. Make several small bundles of lavender and secure them with an elastic band or strong twine. Your biggest bundles should be no more than 1 1/2 inches wide at the stems since the thicker a bundle is, the greater the possibility there is that it will become moldly before it's thoroughly dried. Hang the bunches upside down in a dry, dark spot for about two weeks. Lavender flowers can maintain their scent for two years or longer. If they seem to fade, revive them by bringing them into a steamy bathroom for a few minutes or by lightly spritzing them with water.
Use fresh lavender in salads. Its floral, faintly citrus-like flavor complements baby greens and pairs beautifully with mild goat cheese. Drop a sprig of fresh lavender into a glass of champagne, or sprinkle a few flowers on top of cake or sorbet. To use dried lavender, gently break up the dried blossoms with a mortar and pestle without crushing them into a powder. Dried lavender is appropriate anywhere you'd normally use rosemary, such as in rubs for meat or herbal breads. Make lavender sugar by storing dried lavender in a sealed container of white sugar for a few weeks. You can use the subtly flavored sugar for baking or coffee.
Make sachets of dried lavender flowers by sewing lavender petals into small fabric bags to give as gifts. Suggest the recipient slip the sachet under the pillow for nighttime relaxation or place it in a drawer to gently scent clothes. Packaged dried lavender blossoms in tea tins with instructions to steep in boiling water and drink to soothe the nerves and digestion. Pack baked goods in a bed of dried lavender flowers for a sweet presentation.