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Lavender

Don’t you just love the scent of lavender?  I wish I could add fragrance to this post for you today!

This basketful came from our younger son’s garden yesterday.  I just couldn’t resist photographing it for you.   Indeed, along with the fragrance of newly cut grass, the scent of lavender takes me right back to childhood when, on our walk from our newsagent’s shop in St Marychurch, Torquay, to Oddicombe Beach, my mother and I would pass a mound of lavender growing in someone’s garden, the spires of the flowers just within arm’s reach, and, somewhat naughtily, we would each nip off a sprig or two and crush the flowers in our fingers and inhale the strong lavender perfume.

Furthermore, although it was often considered – along with a box of lace-edged hankies or bath cubes (I suppose bath ‘bombs’ have now replaced those!) – appropriate gift for an elderly lady to be given a bottle of Yardley’s Lavender Water or a box of Yardley’s Lavender toilet soap, I loved the sent of lavender water and lavender soap.  

I still love Yardley’s lavender soap and writing this has reminded me to buy some if only to find out whether it smells as lovely as it used to.  I recently purchased some lavender liquid soap for the kitchen … lavender has a natural antiseptic quality, so ideal for washing hands before preparing food …

and here is also a bottle of lavender linen water which I use when ironing the bed linen. 

I also sometimes use lavender slumber spray rather than my rose pillow mist …

And I have used soothing muscle rub occasionally,  but I confess it’s the fragrance which is pleasant ; whether it actually does the muscles any good remains to be seen (or felt!)

However, if all these products are used together, their combined fragrances might sooth us to sleep at those times when sleep eludes us. 

One gift I had as a child was a lavender-scented hot water bottle!  My dear late Uncle (whom I’ve mentioned on several occasions in my blog) bought this for me as a Christmas present when I was  about 8 or 9 years old, and of course, we all had h.w.b.s in the days before central heating.   Indeed, we still use hot water bottles even with central heating and with an electric blanket.  The h.w.b. was lavender-coloured rubber, and when hot water was poured into it, the warmth released the lavender scent with which the rubber had been impregnated.  I wonder why they don’t make something as lovely today?

In 1991 (and for several years before and after) I was in the habit of sending in a postcard to enter book giveaway competitions and I was very lucky and won several  books in this way.   One of them was …

And as the title says, the book was scented with lavender (which, sadly, in the intervening years, has disappeared.)  I can even remember the day that it arrived because I didn’t open the parcel but put it on the back seat of the car as Postie arrived as I was just going out – I was taking my mother on a visit to A la Ronde, the lovely 16-sided house now I the care of the National Trust near Exmouth, Devon.  I can remember opening the parcel when I had parked the car and both of us admiring it and sniffing it!

Inside this lovely book  there is a lot of lavender information: lavender history; cooking with lavender; choosing the right lavender plants for your garden; decorative lavender; lavender waters to use with linens; essential oils, etc.  It is so pretty, just looking at the illustrations is uplifting. It was produced in connection with Norfolk Lavender Ltd, which was founded in 1932 which had (at that time of publication of this book) 100 acres (40 hectares) of lavender under cultivation.

My latest ‘lavender’ product is simply a packet of handbag tissues showing lavender plants.

So pretty, how could I resist them?

I think the lavender from our son will be simply made into lavender pot pourri, the flowers just stripped from the spires and put into a bowl and given a scrunch with my fingers every so often to release the strong lavender perfume.

Now for a cup of tea and a little zzz – perhaps using my lavender slumber spray.

Until next time.

 

About Margaret Powling

Margaret Powling
Margaret’s main interests are her husband and family, her friends, her home, her garden, writing, literature, architecture, décor, social history, photography, historic houses and gardens, and towns, villages and the countryside. She writes about the things she enjoys: flowers, scent, fine soap, monthly style magazines, and other such small indulgences, such as afternoon tea or simply enjoying her summerhouse with a book. She invites you to enjoy this virtual visit to South Devon, England.

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23 comments

  1. I have some lavender essential oil (purchased from a natural foods market). I put a few drops in the washer when I’m doing a load of linens and all the linens are then lavender scented! I’m sure it would give a better scent to put it in the rinse cycle, but I never seem to catch it and so just have been putting it in the wash cycle.
    Also, here is a recipe for a linen spray:
    Lavender Linen Spray
    From Simply Luxurious Life.com
    Make your own lavender linen spray:
    Mix 1 tsp lavender essential oil with
    1/4 c. unflavored vodka
    then add 3 1/2 cups of water
    Pour into a spray bottle

    I just wanted to thank you for your blog. It’s fun to see what it’s like in another area!

    Best wishes to you from Southern California.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Thank you, so much, Garden Goddess for that recipe for the Lavender Linen Spray (“first buy your bottle of Vodka!”) I sometimes put a cotton wool make-up pad inside the vacuum on which I had put a few drops of lavender oil and this makes vacuuming smell much more pleasant.
      I am delighted you enjoy my blog, so very best wishes to you in Southern California from Devon in South West England.

  2. Rosemary Haines (of Rosie's Ramblings)

    I wish I could have lavender scented Pot Pourri in the house, but my youngest son is allergic to lavender. When my little granddaughter (his youngest child) was a baby, I had her to stay for a weekend and bathed her in lavender baby bubbles, which settled her to sleep beautifully (I didn’t know about his allergy at the time). But when I took her home, he started sneezing immediately, his eyes were closing and his whole face was swelling up as soon as he held her. My daughter-in-law had to give her another bath, shampoo her hair and put all her clothes in the wash.
    So I stick to citrus room scents and citrus shower gel; I like his hugs and I don’t want to make him sneeze!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      What a shame that your son is allergic to lavender and what a distressing time he must’ve had when you unwittingly bathed their little baby with lavender baby bubble. But citrus scents are lovely, too, so best stick to them in future.

  3. Eloise at thisissixty.blog

    Oh yes, yes, yes! I love lavender and have several bushes of it lining each side of my front path in between the roses. It#s reputed to keep away aphids and I rarely get a problem with them so I guess it works.
    I put drops of lavender on my pillow – though I don’t sleep terribly well much of the time so perhaps that works a little less well.
    It is associated with old ladies, but in the case of lavender, I don’t mind being considered old!
    I remember bath cubes and often received them as a present when a young teenager. before that I would be allowed half of one of my mothers. They’re not something one sees nowadays. I’m sure you are right about the bath bombs.
    Heathcote and Ivory do some very nice lavender hand cream which I keep next to ‘my’ chair so that I can massage it in whilst watching TV.
    Hot water bottles …..nothing so comforting on a cold night, but I never had a lavender perfumed one.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I heard that lavender was a good plant to have with roses because of that very reason – it keeps away aphids. I have recently moved from lavender for my pillow to rose pillow mist but I’ve today sent for some lavender pillow spray (this time from another company, the only one which uses pure English lavender) and will give it a try.
      Yes, bath cubes were considered a suitable gift for a young teenager. Re hot water bottles, we use them all year round to soothe an aching back. Better for us than dosing with paracetamol or ibuprofen. We only take those if the how water bottle treatment has failed.

  4. Hi Margaret,

    Have you ever heard of Lavender Wands? They’re a bit fiddly to make, but believe me, if I can do it, anyone can! There are loads of instructions available on t’interweb for making them.

    I make quite a lot and put them in drawers and wardrobes, and they’re lovely to give as gifts too! It’s also quite therapeutic making them, inhaling all that lavender fragrance relaxes one!

    Incidentally, I took a spray of Yardleys lavender water into the labour ward when my son was due, it was beautifully refreshing!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Col. No, I’ve not heard of Lavender Wands, but in the book I have it shows how to make a Lavender Bottle, which might be similar? The lavender is bunched, the stems are then bent back on the lavender flowers and then ribbon is woven through the stems (there are four pages of instructions, I’ve just given a brief summary.) I’m useless at making things, but it is something I’d attempt (once I’d bought the ribbon).
      I still like Yardley’s lavender water, what a good idea to take it with you into the labour ward. I do find the scent of lavender is very soothing.

  5. Yes! I love the scent of lavender. I buy Yardley Lavender soap, remove it from the packaging, and put the bars in my linen closet amongst the towels and sheets. It leaves a lovely scent. When I feel the bars have lost some of their oomph, I buy new and use the old ones as hand soap. It’s a win, win!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      That’s an excellent idea, Jeannine, to use the soap as you do in your linen closet. I might take up that idea myself, Yardley Lavender soap isn’t expensive and it could be bought for this purpose and then used as the scent begins to disappear. Thank you for that tip!

  6. I tried to leave a comment and something went wrong 🙁 I use Yardley lavender soap in my linen closet, nestling the bars amongst the sheets and towels. When they seem to have lost some of their oomph they then become hand soap and I buy new for the closet. They leave a lovely scent on the stored linens.

  7. Hello Margaret… I’ve had trouble today logging onto your site. There have been strange warnings about headers etc for your site, appearing instead. So I came to here via Fiona Ferris’s site. So vexing when the web does just what it wants!!!!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Yes, I’ve noticed these warnings, too, Ratnuamurti, and I don’t know what to do about them, I don’t seem to be able to get rid of them. I’ve emailed my computer man but no response from him yet. I hope he will be able to show me how to remove these warnings, it’s really weird to have these things happen. Thank you for visiting my blog via Fiona’s!

  8. Lavender is a funny one for me, I love it outdoors in the garden but I’m not so fond of the scent in the house, goodness knows why. I tend to favour citrus scents indoors. Have you ever visited a lavender farm? I’ve been to Yorkshire Lavender a few times and it looks fabulous growing en masse.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I have a lovely lemon wardrobe spray from French Soaps and that is really refreshing, Jo. I love both lavender and citrus, but favourite right now is the scent of roses in my rose pillow mist and room spray.
      Yes, we have visited both Norfolk Lavender, many years ago, and also the lavender farm which is close to Snowshill Manor in the Cotswolds but then the lavender had been harvested so it wasn’t in the fields. However, we could smell the distillery where they extracted the lavender oil from the flowers from some distance, it was lovely (but I think if you had to work with it every day you would soon have a headache from the very strong smell.)

  9. Hi Margaret,
    Lavender Bottles are indeed the same as Lavender Wands. Have a go at making yourself one, it’s fiddly but really easy once you get the hang of it!

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I would get in a right royal muddle, Col, believe me! I think I will stick to writing, ha ha! I am going to strip the spires of lavender and simply put it into a bowl and scrunch it every so often.

  10. simpleliving31.blogspot.co.uk

    I love lavender, people do associate with old ladies though and I wish they wouldn’t it is gorgeous, I grow it and I have home made lavender sachets in the wardrobe, I am thinking about getting some of the slumber spray also.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      Hello, Marlene. Yes, lavender is lovely. I have that huge bunch of it in the hall in the basket, drying, and waiting for me to make pot pourri from it. My new lavender spray is from Norfolk Lavender and it’s the best one I’ve had, I can personally recommend it. It’s a much more gentle fragrance than the stronger one from Cotswold Lavender, both are nice, but the Norfolk one I find the most soothing at night.

  11. I love lavender at night and in my bedroom, but don’t seem to wear or use it otherwise except in the bath. Bath bombs (I remember bath cubes!) or a few drops of essential oil in an epsom salt bath is a lovely wind-down before bed.

    • Margaret Powling
      Margaret Powling

      I don’t bath any more, haven’t for years, Aurora, but when I did the essence I loved was Geranium from Floris, and I still have a bottle beside the (unused) bath. I shower instead, twice a day, as I have arthritis and can’t get in and out of a bath, but I imagine the essential oil in an Epson salt bath would be lovely before bed. I love all kinds of fragrances, and for different purposes. Lavender mist on my pillow (or rose pillow spray); verbena for a wardrobe spray; and either rose, lavender or mimosa for a room spray. Thank you for looking in, and I do apologise for the blog problems which I’m having great difficulty resolving.

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