1.31.10 Laid Out In Lavender

Lavender 790 xxx
I brought this lavender and rosemary back from LA with me, stuffed into a plastic bag in my suitcase. It seems like they are growing everywhere there. Such a treat when the only living thing in our garden here is the hardy winter rye we planted to help restore our vegetable beds. For the past few days, I've been able to reach out and pinch these lovely sprigs, releasing their sharp-sweet fragrance onto my fingertips. (The smell of lavender has been proven to reduce stress.) Don't you just love having flowers in the house? Their beauty goes through so many phases, even when at last they droop and give up their petals. I especially like it when they come from the fields or my own garden. I'm dreaming even now of those two weeks in June when I'll have all the peonies I can handle. Check out these beauties from last year...
Whitepeonies1 790 xxx
I grow the hot pink ones, too. I'll be interested to see if the lavender I planted comes back this spring. It didn't especially thrive (could it have been all that #$%*! rain??), and I've heard there's only a 50-50 chance it will winter over in this zone. We shall see. If I get a bunch, I'll be making lavender ice cream and lavender sugar and lavender-lemon balm tea. And if I don't, I may just have one of my LA friends send me a bushel...LAVENDER-HONEY ICE CREAMfrom Gourmet, 2003makes about 1 quart2 cups heavy cream1 cup half-&-half2/3 cup wildflower honey2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers*2 large eggs1/8 teaspoon saltBring cream, half-&-half, honey and lavender just to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, then remove pan from heat. Let steep, covered, 30 minutes.Pour cream mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and discard lavender. Return mixture to cleaned saucepan and heat over moderate heat until hot.Whisk together eggs and salt in a large bowl, then add 1 cup hot cream mixture in a slow stream, whisking. Pour into remaining hot cream mixture in saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat back of spoon (should register 170-175°F on thermometer), about 5 minutes. Don't let this boil or you'll have scrambled eggs!Pour custard through sieve into clean bowl and cool completely, stirring occasionally. Chill, covered, until cold, at least 3 hours.Freeze custard in ice cream maker. Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden.*Available at Penzeys and Kalustyan's.LAVENDER SUGARStir into hot or iced tea; sprinkle over sugar cookies before baking; mix in softened butter to spread on scones; stir into oatmeal.1 1/2 tablespoons dried lavender flowers1 cup rapadura sugar (this is unrefined, evaporated cane juice that contains all of the sugarcane’s vitamins and minerals; you can substitute it anywhere you might use white sugar) Place lavender and sugar in a food processor. Pulse to mix evenly, distributing flecks of lavender throughout the sugar. Store in a sealed container.


Good drainage is essential for growing lavender. Try adding pumice or small gravel into the planting hole to prevent the roots from becoming waterlogged. You can also try growing lavender in clay pots. This way you can bring them into a garage or shed if the weather becomes to cold. The ice cream sounds divine!
Suzinn on February 1, 2010 at 9:19 am —
Yes, I will try to amend the soil this year!
laura on February 1, 2010 at 9:57 am —
Now you've got me thinking of peony sorbet.
Vetivresse on February 1, 2010 at 11:11 am —
Hmmm...maybe that can be a project for June.
laura on February 1, 2010 at 12:51 pm —
lavender is so beautiful- and indeed, the scent relieves stress, i have lavender and eucalyptus oil in my bedside table at all times. my friend used to give me bags (large, garbage bags) of lavender from her country home in Tuscany when i lived in Rome- i had it hidden in every corner of my flat. and it made for great gifts- attached to a christmas or eid card. it's always a sensory pleasure to read your blog- evokes such memories for me in one way or another. gorgeous photos as well. best wishes, shayma
shayma on February 11, 2010 at 5:16 pm —
Bagsful of lavender sounds like heaven... Thanks for stopping by, Shayma!
laura on February 12, 2010 at 2:53 am —