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Lots of Love for Lavender

 

Lots of Love for Lavender
Lavender- just reading the name can remind you of its beautiful color, delicate flavor, and fragrant scent. A beloved and coveted flower, lavender has been cultivated for thousands of years for stress relief, medicinal use, cosmetics, cuisine, and so much more. 
English Lavender originates from the Mediterranean area and is considered an evergreen perennial, though the plant can be hard to grow and maintain in North Carolina. However, it can be done with determination and research. Lavender does best in well-draining soil and does not like to keep its roots soaked. It fares best in dry soil with full sun. Lavender will die out quickly in most clay soils, so it’s important to provide soil that will best suit your plant. We recommend amending the soil with Raised Bed Mix. 
Lavender is extremely difficult to grow from seed. Mitchell’s grows them from plugs that specialized greenhouses grow for us. We will have them available from mid-March through fall. We have found our customers seem to have the best luck with Super Blue.
In North Carolina, lavender usually blooms from May to September. The blooms will be the most plentiful and beautiful in mid-June. Personally, I try not to harvest all of my lavender blooms at once, allowing them to grow to their full potential and provide enough blooms to last throughout the summer. Pollinators love lavender, so planting them in your garden with other pollinator plants like butterfly bushes, coneflowers, allium, and gaillardia will attract plenty of bees and butterflies. Lavender has a strong scent that will also deter flies, moths, fleas, and those pesky mosquitoes! Lavender makes a great addition to any garden.
While fresh lavender is beautiful, rejuvenating, and sweet-smelling, dried lavender has plenty of benefits as well. A bundle of lavender can be used for decoration, smudging a living space, for teas and food, cosmetics, and so much more. It’s always nice to have a few bundles of lavender handy for a plethora of DIY projects. To dry lavender, I personally use some leather cording or thick string to wrap all of the blooms together by the stems. Once they’re in a tidy, tight bundle, I hang them upside down in a dry place. Sometimes I even like to keep the bundles up for decoration. It usually only takes a few days to properly dry lavender. After the blooms are dry, you can use them for whatever you’d like!  
Personally, I like to use lavender blooms to make tea. Lavender and mint combined with green tea are some of my favorite tea combinations, especially for warm summer mornings. The lavender delivers a calming effect, the mint provides a cooling property, and the green tea has antioxidant properties to heal you from the inside out! Here’s how I make my lavender-mint green tea:
Lavender-mint green tea
Total Time: 5 Minutes
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons fresh lavender flowers (English varieties are best for consumption)
        2 tablespoons fresh or dried mint
        2 tea bags of dried green tea 
        Tea strainer or cheesecloth
        16 oz. hot water in a mug 
Directions:  
Combine ingredients within a tea strainer or cheesecloth. 
Steep your ingredients in hot water for 3 minutes.
Enjoy hot or place in the refrigerator for delicious iced tea! Sweeten to your heart’s desire! I enjoy mine with a combination of both sugar and honey to intensify the flavor. 
We hope you all have learned a lot about lavender and we invite you to come by Mitchell’s Nursery & Greenhouse for all your plant needs, including lovely lavender! We’ve got tons of lavender plants in a variety of types and sizes to share with you all! Happy Planting!