Lavender in Blanco, Texas

 2019 Lavender Festival is almost hear again, June 7 - 9.

There is a lavender festival in a tiny Texas town just north of where I live. The town of Blanco this time next weekend will be bustling with artists from across the state to partake in this festival celebrating a lovely aromatic herb. Lavender known in abundance to southern France is grown there specifically for the perfume industry. Yet it has health benefits beyond its bouquet. Lavender is what one might consider a wonder herb with several ancient treatments. Have you an abundance of stress? Use lavender in baths, massage oil or in a room diffuser to de-stress, improve your mood, help you sleep well, prevent infections, reduce inflammation, eliminate dandruff, and soothe stomach bloating.

Blanco City Hall ~ EmC ©2018

Blanco Courthouse ~ EmC ©2018

You might be wondering how well lavender grows in South Texas and although it is not native to this region you will have luck. Grow lavender in your garden and you'll be rewarded with colorful flowers and wonderful fragrance from mid May through early July. This low maintenance plant thrives once it is placed in a site with excellent drainage. Use of a raised bed or planting on a gentle slope will help with proper drainage and limestone soil works great (Ph 6.4 - 8.3). Space your plants apart by the width of a mature plants growth. After winter, remove dead leaves from the base to promote air movement. They will need full sun for a minimum of 6+ hours a day. Water regularly and always around the base of the plant, not through the leaves. During the scorching heat of the summer be sure to water twice a week to every other day and once established reduce to once a month.

Lavender normally blooms in Texas starting mid May to early July. For a fresh bouquet, pick the blossoms when half of the flowers on the spike have opened. To dry the bundle for crafting or sachet, pick when three-quarters of the blossoms are open.

~ EmC ©2018

~ EmC ©2018
~ EmC ©2018

I stopped in the Hill Country Lavender store on the farms property and purchased 4 small plantings of Provence lavender. That's what Mia told me grows well in our region. I also purchased some dried lavender flowers that I will be using to make a few lavender recipes of my own. Starting with lavender simple syrup: 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp. dried lavender leaves. Bring all ingredients to a boil, let cool for 15, strain out the flowers and store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks. This syrup can be used in a refreshing Lavender Lemon Cocktail.
~ EmC ©2018

Now you may also be fond of the essential oils. Lavender is the most versatile of all essential oils. It is known as the "universal oil". It has good antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, rejuvenating, deodorizing and insect repelling properties, making it extremely useful.

Minor Burns: 1-2 drops of lavender oil on to decrease pain and help prevent scarring. *

Scar Tissue: can be used to reduce or minimize the formation, massage oil on and around the affected area.*

Anxious: rub a drop on the base of the neck to relieve stress and anxiety.*

Tired Feet: add a few drops of oil to a warm foot bath and soak, to relieve stress.

Headache/Migraine attack: apply a cold compress with 2-4 drops of lavender oil on it to the temples and relax.

Not Sleeping well: a couple of drops of lavender oil on a hankie or tissue slid into your pillow case, will help, as well as a nicely brewed cup of lavender tea.

Calming: diffuse lavender oil in a room to calm your mind, body and spirit.

Stress: the natural organic compounds in its leaves and flowers can be ground between the fingers and then rubbed onto the temples. You can also brew lavender tea and achieve much the same effect. The antioxidant components in it can impact the endocrine system to lower the levels of stress hormones in the body.

Animals: if you have a cat or dog, put some lavender oil on their collar to keep away fleas.

Bug Repellent: use cotton balls with 3-5 drops of lavender oil in the corners of your kitchen cupboards, linen closet, and bathroom cabinets to safely repel insects, without the use of toxic chemicals. The cotton balls may also be added to your vacuum cleaner bag, stinky tennis shoes, or almost anywhere you need to freshen the air naturally.

Flies: during the summer months, a couple of drops of lavender oil in a bowl of water, kept in the  corner of the entrance hall or by doors will keep flies away.

Bathroom Freshness: Place 2-3 drops of lavender oil inside the cardboard tube of toilet paper when re-stocking the bathroom. Each time someone takes from the roll it releases the calming and fresh scent of lavender.

Bathroom and Kitchen Spray: make a spray combining distilled white vinegar and drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle, may be used for cleaning and sanitizing a variety of surfaces such as counter tops and bathroom sinks.

Floor Cleaner: a simple floor cleaner which combines water, vinegar and a few drops of lavender will make the house smell fresh and help keep scorpions away.

Stain Remover: lavender oil can be used to help remove small laundry stains such as paint, nail polish, tar, or grease.

Dryer Sheet: place a few drops of lavender oil on a wet cloth and throw into the dryer to deodorize and freshen your laundry.

Ironing: use lavender linen spray while ironing to refresh your item and keep it smelling great.

*Discontinue use if any sensitivity occurs.
Word of Caution: Although, not commonly considered an allergenic substance, if you are susceptible to allergens in the mint family, you could experience negative side effects from using lavender as well. These are usually mild in nature and include constipation, headache, and increased appetite, while the topical application can cause irritation and redness.

~ EmC ©2018

Another of my favorite uses of lavender is in the infusion of wine. A light, grape based wine infused with locally grown organic lavender. Slightly sweet and floral. Unique, fun and surprisingly delicious. Come to the Texas Hill Country and enjoy the many flavors we have to share.

Types of lavender that grow in the Texas heat include:

Lavender 'Provence'     Lavandula x intermedia 'Provence'
USE: Fragrant; valued for scent; good cut or dried flowers; attracts butterflies and bees
EXPOSURE: Thrives in warm climates and full sun
WATER: Drought tolerant; needs well-drained soil
BLOOM PERIOD: Light lavender spikes early to late summer
HEIGHT: 1' - 2'    WIDTH: 2' - 3'
COMMENTS: Takes about 3 years for lavender to reach full size; mulch and protect in winter; prune after flowering to keep neat and compact; deer resistant

Lavender 'Spanish'     Lavandula stoechas
USE: Fragrant; various culinary uses; good cut or dried flowers; attracts butterflies and bees
EXPOSURE: Thrives in warm climates and full sun
WATER: Drought tolerant; needs well-drained soil
BLOOM PERIOD: Lavender-to-purple spikes early to late summer
HEIGHT/WIDTH: 18" - 24"
COMMENTS: Takes about 3 years for lavender to reach full size; mulch and protect in winter; prune after flowering to keep neat and compact; deer resistant

Lavender 'French'    Lavandula x intermedia

French lavender is only hardy through about zone 8 and won’t tolerate cold winters.

Read more at Gardening Know How: Types Of Lavender: Difference Between French And English Lavender 
Grows slightly larger than English lavender and has a generally more compact flower head. It is not as winter-hardy but is more tolerant of our humidity. This is the family of lavenders most likely to be grown by lavender farms across the state. The ‘Provence’ and ‘Grosso’ varieties they rely on are also the most reliable performers in fields and gardens.


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