Did you realize that Central Virginia has two lavender farms? If not, you should pick up a copy of our 2014 wedding issue of clutch, the bride’s guide to have and to hold, and you can read all about two wonderful lavender farms right in your own backyard! Inglewood Lavender Farm is in Nelson County, and Evergreen Lavender Farm is in Appomattox County. Both farms offer tours and cuttings in season, and they also sell lavender products year round. Lavender makes a great addition to a wedding (think favors or even herbs for meals), and both farms are fun for out of town wedding guests to visit during their stay.
We asked Bonnie Swanson, of Evergreen Lavender Farm to tell us a little bit more about the plants and their uses. She also has two recipes for you to test out on your skin! You may have seen Bonnie around… if you have been to the Lynchburg Community Market, you may have seen her smiling face as you encounter her stand filled with the fragrance of lavender. Next time you hit the market be sure to say “hi” to her. You will be glad you did! Now hear from Bonnie…
Lavender is one of my favorite herbs. Not only is it beautiful, aromatic and relaxing, but it has many uses in culinary, beauty products, teas, tinctures, and so much more! Throughout history, lavender has been the favorite of royalty: Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, and Queen Victoria, to name a few. Don’t worry, it’s definitely for us common folk, too.
So, what is it about lavender that attracts us to this herb? It definitely is a beautiful plant. Looking out onto a field of lavender is a treat for your senses; the color, fragrance, and activity of the pollinators (bees!) all come together for a delightful sensory treat.
Although lavender is normally thought of as purple, it can range in color from white, pink, light blue, deep blue, to a full range of purples. There are dwarf lavenders, medium and very large sized lavender to fit into a landscape design if you are interested in growing your own plants. Lavender loves the sun, and it is easy to grow once it is established, however soil preparation is key. They love well-drained soil and a good yearly haircut.
There are many benefits of lavender… much more than most people expect. According to Natural News, this herb’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it an effective wound treatment. Lavender stimulates the cells of a wound to regenerate more quickly and prevent scarring. It’s also useful for treating headaches, insomnia, fever blisters, acne, disrupted digestion and even anxiety, stress and depression. Not everyone has fresh lavender to make tinctures, so the essential oil is a convenient way to enjoy its benefits. It truly is a medicine kit in a bottle.
Society has programmed us to think that beauty products need to be expensive to be effective, but I assure you that’s simply not true! Would you believe that many beauty products can be made in your own kitchen? Lotions are combinations of oils and emulsifiers, while soap combines oils or fats with lye. Yes, you do need lye (sodium hydroxide) to make soap, otherwise your bathing with detergent, which is a petroleum by-product. The best reason to make your own body products is the satisfaction that you know exactly what’s in it, and that is so important nowadays! Unless you’re a chemist, you really don’t know which compounds have been added to increase a product’s shelf life, make it more appealing or to keep it from separating.
Some of the ingredients for the following recipes may not be at your grocery store, so you may need to visit the health food store or order on-line. Here are a few simple recipes you can try.
Lavender Facial Toner - adapted from the book Organic Body Care Recipes
- 1 Tbsp lavender buds
- 1 cup pure witch hazel
- 6 drops lavender essential oil
- 1 cup distilled water
- Combine the witch hazel, lavender buds, and essential oil in an air tight jar and store in a cool, dark location for 2 weeks. Shake the jar vigorously every day while the lavender is steeping.
- After 2 weeks, strain out the lavender buds using a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth.
- Add 1 cup distilled water and mix.
- Can be stored at room temperature and is best if used within 12 months of preparation.
To Use: Dab toner onto a cotton pad or ball and gently swipe across skin on face and décolletage (that’s your neck and cleavage area).
You can also steep the lavender buds in the witch hazel, or eliminate that step all together and just add the essential oil drops. This is a very quick and simple recipe that works amazingly!
Simply Lavender Dusting Powder - thanks to Crunchy Betty for this superb recipe.
- 1 cup arrowroot powder
- ½ cup cornstarch
- ¼ cup tapioca powder
- 3 Tbsp. very finely ground lavender buds
- 70 drops or 1 Tbsp. lavender essential oil
Directions: Combine dry ingredients in a large and whisk together. Add essential oil, one drop at a time, whisking as you go. Break up any clumps that may form with your fingers. Transfer powder to a small container, and use after bathing.
I hope you try these recipes and enjoy the many benefits of lavender in your life! ~ Bonnie, owner of Evergreen Lavender Farm
* all photos are property of Evergreen Lavender Farm*