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Monday, April 23, 2012

Lady Lavender and a Beastie Be Gone Class!

Madame Flamingo invites Lady Lavender for Tea Time.
Can you guess what flower will be in the herbal tea?
Good morning, All!  Cousin Sandra is finally home from Austin, and as always, she loaded up the Santa Fe with baby plants and not so baby trees (more like pre-adolescent trees).  We finally have all in the ground except for a few that will have to go in pots in the shade garden.

Wanted to share with you a little about the April herb class The Wild Side of Herbs.  We (me, my wonderful group of students and Chi) had a great time walking through the yard, garden and wild area identifying edible and medicinal "weedies".  There was a whole range of students from those who had never eaten the weedy plants to budding herbalists actually enrolled in herbal education programs.

This is part of the Saturday class
talking about Dewberry.  There is
a young plant growing there and
we talked about harvesting leaves
to use for tea.
Herb Dog!
Chi was very helpful, every time we would point out and talk about an edible plant, she would proceed to eat it.  Thank you, Chi.  Oh, and she totally enjoyed sharing her vast collection of sticks (to be thrown, of course!) with the students.  She obviously makes it quite clear that even though she is a Border Collie she is an Herb dog not a Herd dog.

A gorgeous field of Lavender,
can you imagine how mind blowing this
would smell!
photo by travelvista.com

This week, well, actually tomorrow (Tuesday) I will be giving a little talk about weeds at a local garden club.  And the ladies really wanted me to talk about Lavender, as well.  So, let us see what we can find out about this lovely plant.  In a nutshell or lavender bud......

Lavender Essential Oil
This EO is a must for any home
herbal first aid kit!
photo from nodosh.blogspot.com
The English word lavender is thought to have come from the Old French word, lavandre, to wash or the Latin lavare (to wash).  I guess the Old French and Romans made an infusion for their baths.  

Lavender is in the mint family Lamiacaea and there are 39 species.  The native range extends from the Canary Islands and Madeira, North and East Africa, Southern Europe, the Mediterranean, Arabia and India

The plant is commercially grown for the production of essential oil.  Lavender EO is antiseptic (agent used to remove pus, blood, etc.) and anti-inflammatory (controlling inflammation, a reaction to injury or infection).  Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender.

During WW1 the EO was used in hospitals to disinfect floors and walls.

Lavender oil heals acne.  Mix Lavender EO in a 1:10 dilution with water, rosewater, or witch hazel.  In other words, 1 tsp. of EO mixed into 10 tsps of the liquid carrier.

Lavender is not used in traditional southern French cooking but in the 70's the herb blend herbes de  Provence (which usually includes lavender) was invented by spice wholesalers, so lavender has become more popular in cooking.  The buds are sometimes paired with sheep's or goat's milk cheeses.

In the US, we make lavender syrup and use the dried buds to make lavender scones and marshmallows.
Lavender Wands
They are so beautiful!
Photo from chappellhillllavender.com
Marshmallows?  Interesting.

Lavender is and has been used as an insect repellent.  I had a friend that loved to make Lavender wands for her friends to hang in their closets.  

Here is a website on how to make lavender wands...www.gardengatemagazine.com/extras/62lvenderwant.php

Lavender is a must in dream pillows, aiding with sleep and relaxation.  You can even make an infusion of the lovely flower heads to drink before bedtime.  Infuse about 1 tsp. dried buds or 3 tsps fresh buds in one cup boiling water for about 5-10 minutes.  Add some Lavender infused honey.  Ahhh, heavenly!

Lavender Cookies
Sure wish I had these made!
Photo from allrecipes.com
Easy Lavender Cookies!

Buy yourself one of those great Sugar Cookie mixes.  There are even some gluten-free ones on the market!

You will be following the directions on the package, but to the dry ingredients add 1 Tbls Lavender flowers.  I would roll the flowers in the palm of my hand to break them up a bit.  I have found that I always need a little extra liquid.  Maybe 2 extra teaspoonful.  Bake according to directions.  Sprinkle lavender sugar on top or make a little glaze and if you have fresh lavender, stick a flower on each glazed cookie!  There, easy and delicious!

Lavender sugar?  No, I don't think you will find that at the local grocery store....well, if you live in the big city, you might, but not out here in the country!  Lavender sugar is so easy to make!  This is what you will need......

2 Cups (castor) sugar....I use regular old white sugar
1 Tablespoon, food grade dried lavender buds, you could use fresh lavender flowers if you have plenty in your garden.           Increase to 3 Tablespoons if using fresh flowers.

Now grind dried buds to a fine powder in the food processor or coffee grinder dedicated to herbs.  You will have to chop the fresh buds by hand.

Place sugar and lavender into a pretty, clean jar.  Label (always label!  This is the voice of experience talking to you!  Always label!)  Put in a dark cabinet for a couple weeks.  Add your beautiful, fragrant sugar to tea or sprinkle on top of your lavender cookies!

May Herb Class announcement!

Natural Insect Repellents

 Wednesday           Saturday
May 16, 2012           May 19, 2012
2-4 pm...................$30.00 per person

You can create you own insect repellents without the harmful chemicals that are found in commercial repellents!

  • Learn natural ways to get rid of fleas and repel mosquitoes.
  • Explore fresh and dried herbs that are good at getting rid of the little beasties.
  • Make your own custom insect repellents.
  • Learn herbal ways to ease the stinging and itching.
Please call or email for information or reservations.
903-866-3606                                                                                stdragonfly@yahoo.com

You might like to bring a camera, bug spray, notebook/pen and a walking stick!  We have Elderberry jelly and syrup, granola, fresh eggs, chicks, candied ginger, herbal teas and medicinals for sale.

Okay time to get to work!  Have to get ready for the herb talk tomorrow and don't forget Winnsboro, Texas Farmers Market, now every Saturday morning until October!  Get there early for the best produce!  Until next week.....I hope you can keep those little biting beasties away from your tender skin!  Herbally, Susan

Anyone who thinks that they are too small to make a difference has never tried to fall asleep with a mosquito in the room!
Christie Todd Whitman

Larkspur in April
Hopkins County, Texas


  1. A trip to StarDragonfly Herbals is one not to be missed. We had a grand time learning about tinctures!

    1. Ann, Thank you so much! Sandra and I totally enjoyed the visit to your "whimsical" garden and beautiful home! I am so glad you enjoyed making the tincture....herbal medicine is a wonderful thing!