“Aromatherapy is one of nature’s many gifts. Whether that gift comes from rose petals, peppermint leaves or juniper berries, we are all touched, in some way, by the quiet fingerprint of plants.” Patricia Carol Brooks
For the past three years I’ve tried to grow lavender. However, our thick WV clay isn’t very conducive to the needs of this aromatic plant. Still, I would come home from the nursery with my little black container holding a few tender shoots. And each time I would transplant it into a sunny location with well-drained soil and hope for the best. I watered and fed it and then sadly watched it lose its color and fullness. I’ve never claimed to have a green thumb....but I am determined.
Last summer I bought more lavender only this time, instead of putting it in the ground, I placed it into a large pot with lots of rocks at the bottom to facilitate good drainage. I put the pot on my front steps in full daylight and, truthfully, didn’t tend to it much. I did water it occasionally. The plant grew and the kids and I enjoyed the fragrant leaves as we sat and talked on the front porch. As fall and winter came, I’m chagrinned to admit that I left my lavender and sage on the front steps, without shelter, to fend the elements in their pots that had become too small. In hindsight, I should’ve taken a photo of the lavender under the weight of several inches of snow!
Imagine my surprise this March when I realized that this bushy mature plant had not only survived the winter, it appeared to have prospered. I removed the stemmy growth, the oak leaves that had covered parts of it and gave it a new, larger pot. Hmmm...maybe there’s a lesson in all that. Maybe we’ve got to weather some storms to become resilient.
The reason I’m so fond of this plant isn’t only because of the aroma, but it’s properties in healing. Aromatherapy snagged my attention some 11 years ago and I still enjoy reading about various plants and flowers as used therapeutically for the healing of body, mind and spirit. The virtues to be found in certain plants became evident to me when, after reading a book by Colleen Dodt, I tried using the pure essential oil of lavender on my skin. For minor skin irritations, blemishes and sunburn, you can’t beat it. The cytophylactic (cell-protecting) qualities soothe the skin and aid its repair. Lavender is also found to be antifungal, antiseptic, antidepressant, calming, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.* And it’s one of the few essential oils you can use “neat”, or, undiluted.
For anyone interested, I recently found two informative websites regarding aromatherapy:
Aromatheraphy Thymes (magazine) www.aromatherapythymes.com/
and an extensive aromatherapy website called Aromatherapy at Home.
*Information taken from Colleen K. Dodt's, "The Essential Oils Book"
*top picture of lavender farm found in public domain, Wikipedia. Bottom picture is our growing lavender! =-)