Lavender is easily grown whether you start with seeds or nursery plants. If starting with seed fill a container with the appropriate soil mixture. Lightly pat the soil down to level it. Take a pencil and lay it flat. Push down so soil comes up half of pencil width. Sprinkle seeds in these indentations, then cover very slightly with additional soil mixture. Make sure seeds are covered thinly and tamp down very gently – just enough to set the soil over the seed. Germination takes anywhere from a week to 3 weeks, so be patient.
Starting with nursery plants obtained from a reputable nursery greatly decreases the time from planting to flowering.
Lavender is regarded as a safeguard against evil. A cross of lavender hung over the door will protect the home and those who dwell therein. Romans used lavender oils for bathing, cooking, and scenting the air. In Tudor times a maiden would sip lavender dew on Saint Luke’s day while murmuring: “St. Luke, St. Luke, be kind to me. In my dreams, let my true love see.” Apline girls tucked lavender under their lover’s pillows to turn their thoughts to marriage. Once married, they would use lavender to ensure their husbands’ marital passion.
Lavender Linen Spray
2 teaspoons of witch hazel
40 drops of Lavender essential oil
4 ounces of distilled water
Mix the witch hazel with the essential oil and let sit for a few minutes. Add the water. Shake before each use and spray away!
Lemon Verbena – Lemon verbena is a perennial shrub or sub-shrub growing to 2–3 feet high. The 8 cm long glossy, pointed leaves are slightly rough to the touch and emit a powerful scent reminiscent of lemon when bruised.
Sprays of tiny lilac or white flowers appear in late Spring or early Summer. It is sensitive to cold, losing leaves at temperatures below 32 °F although the wood is hardy to 14 °F). Due to its many culinary uses, it is widely listed and marketed as a plant for the herb garden.
Natural legginess and rampant growth require the tall stems be pruned in late spring and summer. If growth looks ragged after late frost, reduce height by one-third to stimulate new growth and to keep plants more compact.
Lemon verbena leaves are used to add a lemon flavor to fish and poultry dishes, vegetable marinades, salad dressings, jams, puddings, Greek yogurt and beverages. It also is used to make herbal teas, or added to standard tea in place of actual lemon (as is common with Moroccan tea). It can also be used to make a sorbet.
Lemon verbena is used in love spells and mixtures to help make a person attractive to the opposite sex. Add lemon verbena to other magickal herbs to increase their strength. Lemon verbena makes an aromatic addition to potpourri mixes and dream pillows. For aromatic relief, add an infusion of fresh or dried leaves to your bath.
Iris – Irises are perennial plants, growing from creeping rhizomes or, in drier climates, from bulbs. They have long, erect flowering stems which may be simple or branched, solid or hollow, and flattened or have a circular cross-section. The rhizomatous species usually have 3–10 basal sword-shaped leaves growing in dense clumps. The bulbous species have cylindrical, basal leaves.
Irises grow in any good free garden soil, the smaller and more delicate species needing only the aid of turf ingredients, either peat or loam, to keep it light and open in texture.
They should be divided in summer every two or three years, when the clumps become congested.
From their earliest years, irises were used to make perfume. Rhizomes of the German Iris and Sweet Iris are traded as “orris root” and are used in essential oils and perfumes.
Irises come in a variety of colors, the most popular being the deep blue variety. Their primary meanings include faith, hope, wisdom, courage, and admiration. When given as gifts, they can convey deep sentiments.
The meanings attached to the iris have come to include faith, hope, and wisdom. Depending on factors such as color and region, irises may bear additional meanings as well. In some parts of the world, the dark blue or purple iris can denote royalty, whereas the yellow iris can be a symbol of passion. Irises may also express courage and admiration. The many meanings of the iris makes the flower a great choice for an array of gift giving occasions.