Wednesday, December 22, 2010


There are 3 creatures I would love to have, one Clivia, a rare South African plant here or there,  was with me during the New York exile, passing away down here some time ago...

 For many years Bao Babs, Yarrow and Lavender have being among my favorite impossible gardening dreams.  Since I have perhaps the best reference on the last one, let me share it with you.



Lavender has long been used for its cosmetic, cleansing and healing qualities, with first recorded history dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times.  Dioscorides, a Greek physician described lavenders as having twigs and hair similar to thyme, only longer.  The Greek apparently used mainly L.stoechas medicinally, making wines and vinegars from the spikes and foliage.  The Romans used it to scent their baths and relieve their aching limbs.  It may be that the Romans distinguished between L.stoechas and L.vera using the first for wine-making and the second for their exotic perfumes. However this not clear.

It is generally assumed that the Romans introduced lavender in England but it may well have been introduced earlier.  No records exist to confirm this.  During the Dark Ages, monks recorded their herbal knowledge and  lavender  thrived
in their monastery gardens.  Abbes Hildegarde (1098-1180) a learned female botanist, made a study of lavender and wrote of her findings.  Subsequently, herbalists such as Turner and Gerard (16th century) attributed lavender with an ability to heal anything from colds and headaches to limb paralysis and neurosis, as well as with use as both a tonic and a laxative.
Lavandula stoechas was referred to as 
'Sticadore' and was one of the main ingredients of  'Four Thieves vinegar' used to to combat the plague during the Middle Ages.
 The spikes of L.stoechas were still being used medicinally until the middle of the eighteenth century.  Even today in France and Spain, fresh spikes of  L. stoechas and L. dentata are suspended in water in closed bottles placed in the sun, for use as a haemostatic for cleansing wounds.

Apart from L. stoechas, it appears the Romans may also have known L. pedunculata and L dentata, but possibly included them under the name L. stoechas or other names.

This is a real wonderful book, I have had it for ten years, with once in a while reading.

To finish, let the record show that Australia, France, Japan, New Zealand, United Kingdom and USA are the most important farmers...

There are not many plants with such allure........until then.. 

taken from 
Lavenders-the growers guide
Virginia Mcnaughton
Timber Press
pages 43/44

a ver si apagan i os vais o apaga i vamonoh...


  1. Thanks for that great background on Lavendula spp. I was not aware of that history on lavender, though I suspected that the English took it for their own...even renamed one species, "English Lavender". Ha! When I was a kid, I wish I would have remembered seeing it where my late parents were from in Italy and Sicily.

    I take it Lavender cannot grow in the tropics?

  2. Lavanda deliciosa.................mmmmm.

    Hasta pronto, un abrazo.

  3. Thank you both for the visit...Lavanda could grow here If I could get the right variety.

    It will remain a dream...

    Until then...


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