Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Lavender Provender

My planters will hold a lot of lavender!
I have never been much of a gardener, but someday that is all going to change. I love fresh herbs, especially things like lavender and lemon verbena, and when I was very young someone gave me a planting kit with seeds and a bunch of tiny little plastic containers. And I tried to grow them, really I did. Only I was in a highrise apartment building and my room faced north onto a dark courtyard and...well, you can imagine how well that worked out.

Now I actually have a backyard, so all I need is a few outdoor commercial planters to put my future herbs in. Oh, and some seeds and seedlings, of course. And some gardening books! Planters are excellent for herbs, vegetable, flowers and small trees because they protect them from diseases in the soil, and from weeds. You can adjust the amount of sunlight and water they get, too. You can even shelter them on the porch when the weather gets wild. They can be small containers, of course, not commercial planters - in fact, I will probably start out small.

Lavender field in Tasmania
Having said that, a commercial planter would hold plenty of lavender, which would suit me fine. I love lavender anything - the color lavender, Yardley's lavender soap, the lavender skin cream I got on a trip to Belgium in 1989 (it was so amazing!), lavender honey, the background of this post - you name it. Maybe I will have two or three large commercial planters with different kinds of lavender, who knows! But then we will need a bigger back yard, I suppose.

What will we do with all this lavender? Dry some for sachets, of course. We can make our own lotion, oil and candles. And we can make treats like  lavender ice cream. We can even make some unusual candy. Here is a mid-Victorian recipe for lavender sweets:

Lavender Lozenges

Fourteen pounds of powdered sugar, one quart of gum, half an ounce of Mitcham oil of lavender. These are mostly colored with a faint blue or deep pink, and cut out with a fluted cutter or other shapes to fancy.

[from Henry Weatherley, A Treatise in the Art of Boiling Sugar, Crystallizing, Lozenge-Making, Comfits, Gum Goods an d Other Processes for Confectionery, Etc., 1865, p. 107]

Henry Weathersley omits any directions for mixing or cooking the ingredients (Victorian cookery and household guide writers often did this). He does tell us just how to color them and cut them out though, in case we actually figured out how to make the stuff.

[Images from Wikipedia]

1 comment:

vanilla said...

My kind of recipe. Read it, wonder, move on to something else. No fuss, no muss!