“For the earth which drinks in the rain that often comes upon it, and bears herbs useful for those by whom it is cultivated, receives blessing from God.” Hebrews 6:7
Ahhhh…lavender. Such a lovely flower, color, fragrance. It simply screams British Isles, but its origin is actually in the Mediterranean region. Today, it claims a regal spot in our side yard in the east Tennessee mountains.
We were blessed to inherit a tiny patch of lavender when we moved into this house…first time I’ve successfully grown it, mainly because someone else planted it and because it likes full sun. All I’ve had to do is fertilize it (with cow manure) and clip it!
Obviously, you don’t have to be a gardening expert to grow and enjoy lavender. I get two trimmings per summer, with hundreds of delicate stalks. It’s important to clip the stems just after the buds turn purple but haven’t yet opened into full flower. You can dry them either by hanging tied bunches from a clothesline-type string or by spreading them out on a flat surface covered in paper.
Lavender is a versatile herb, too, useful for cooking, baking, and aromatherapy. Its fragrance is reputed to help improve sleep…and whether it really works or not, it’s a very pleasant way to drift blissfully off into fields of dreams.
Dried buds can be brushed off the stems and placed in small fabric bags for sachets (those sheer bridal-favor-type string bags work great). Or, simply gather a bunch of stems and tie with a ribbon to place at your bedside table.
Lavender seems to be a popular addition to “herbes de Provence” or “fines herbes,” a mix of dried garden herbs. You can buy pre-packaged versions or make them yourself. Combine lavender buds with your choice of rosemary, thyme, basil, oregano, parsley, marjoram, fennel seed, sage, and tarragon—grind them finely in a small food processor or with a mortar/pestle, or just leave them coarsely mixed. And, lavender infuses shortbread butter cookies and divinity-like confections with a delicate flavor.
Depending on where you live, you still have time to plant some lavender—it’s a perennial, so even if it doesn’t bloom again for you this year, you can enjoy it next season.
Like lavender, we Christians are called to share the fragrance of Christ with those around us. May we and our words be like this flower—useful, pleasant, and beautiful in spirit for Him.
O Jesus, please infuse our spirits with the fragrance of Your grace to share with others. Thank You for the privilege of serving You and Your kingdom. Grow us in Your likeness, that we may radiate Your love and truth to others. In Your name, Amen.
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