The Victorians also turned flower
giving into an art. It was common practice at the beginning of
a courtship for suitors to give their intended a tussie-musssie.
Floriography, the art of sending messages by flowers, brought
a new dimension to tussie-mussies. Dozens of floral dictionaries
were published listing the meanings of each flower and herb.
The symbolic meanings were adapted from classical mythology,
religious symbolism, ancient lore, and a bit of creativity on
the part of the floral designer. The study of botany and the
discovery of new plants from all over the world brought new and
exciting ideas to this language of flowers.
The plant may grow to a height
of 3 feet, but there are dwarf forms for edging which reach only
about 10 inches. The stems are thick and woody, and become straggly
if left unpruned. The leaves are long, spiky, and very narrow,
and branch out near the ground. To keep lavenders beautiful year
after year, prune them in early spring or fall, or at harvest.
Low growing varieties should be cut back 1 to 2-inches. Taller
varieties (3 to 4-feet in height) should be pruned back to approximately
one-third of their height. Pruning helps to keep these plants
from becoming very woody.
Fresh lavender flowers can be
used to flavor syrup for jellies. Mix 6 flowerheads into each
pint of apple jelly syrup. Remove the lavender before bottling.
It is also used to flavor fruit salad and milk and cream for
deserts. Flowers be candied to decorate cakes and puddings. Use
lavender instead of rosemary when cooking chicken. Lavender ice-cream
is a real treat.
Use an infusion of lavender
on insect bites. Dried flowers and seeds are used in herbal sleep
pillows and baths for soothing and calming frayed nerves. Lavender
oil applied at the temples will relieve a headache. Three flowerheads
in a cup of boiling water makes a soothing tea at bedtime.
Bunches of lavender are said
to ward off insects. Fresh or dried flowers are used in rinsing
water for clothes and hair. Dried flowers and seeds are often
used in potpourri and sachets. The stems are used to weave decorative
To dry the flowers, cut them
as soon as they begin to open and hang upside down in bunches
in a well-ventilated area.
Easy Lavender Soap
10 tablespoons finely grated
8 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons crushed dried lavender flowers
4 drops lavender oil
Melt the soap in the water in
a bowl placed over a saucepan of hot water, stirring frequently,
Crush the flowers to a powder
and take the bowl off the saucepan. Stir the flowers into the
soap with oil.
Store in a glass or plastic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon aloe vera gel
1 tablespoon shea butter
2 teaspoons grated beeswax
1 tablespoon rosewater
1/4 teaspoon lecithin
oil from two capsules of vitamin E
3 drops chamomile or lavender essential oil
Melt oil, butter, and beeswax
in heatproof glass measuring cup, over boiling water or in microwave.
(low heat) Remove from heat just before beeswax is completely
melted. Finish melting by stirring in warm oil. Add the vitamin
E oil and lecithin and stir in between additions. Mix rosewater
and aloe together and slowly add to main mixture. Continue stirring
with a small metal whisk. Once mixture is cooled, add the essential
oil and stir. Store inside drawer or cabinet. Try to keep away
from sun and heat.
Use nightly-especially in cold or dry weather.
Vinegar of the Four Thieves
One part each (all plants are
dry) Rosemary, Wormwood, Lavender, Sage, Mint
Place in a jar and cover with
vinegar let set 7 days
Put on cloth and exposed skin
repels ticks, fleas, and chiggers.