This Lavandula angustifolia “Miss Katherine” was a new addition to the garden last summer and it took its rightful place in the Family Border. We bought several others lavenders on our trip to Cheristow Lavender Farm and we have varying success rates. Wet is more often than not the downfall of these mediterranean shrubs and several of our specimens are looking decidedly ropey after the seemingly incessant rain of the winter, spring and early summer. Not this one though, she sailed through the winter and although perhaps a little later to flower than some, is now coming into her own. She may look delicate with her exceptionally pretty and fragrant lilac-pink flowers, but she is actually a tough cookie.
The genus name lavandula is derived from the Latin lavo meaning to wash, referring to the use of this herb in soap production; angustifolia means “narrow leaved”. It is widely used in herbalism, the buds being collected for oil extraction. This oil has many uses including as a relaxant, an antiseptic and an anti-inflamatory. It also has a wide range of culinary uses, both sweet and savoury, although some of these dishes might not suit all tastes; the jury’s out for me on lavender broccoli corn bread. I suppose I shouldn’t knock it until I have tried it and but in all honesty that is highly unlikely. The dried flowers make excellent pillows to help those who lie in bed at night worrying about weeds, badgers, deer, mud, visitors ………… which I expect is why Bosswoman made both myself and Hero just that for Christmas last year. Very clever and much appreciated.