Archive for category Lavender'

The retail lavender nursery

There may be romantic appeal to running a lavender nursery, but there is little room for this notion on the modern nursery. Downderry Nursery, however, offers a sensual experience which compensates for a great deal of time, worry and effort. Set in the peaceful beauty of a Victorian walled garden, in the heart of the Kent countryside, it is also the home of the Lavender and Rosemary National Plant Collection® in Kent. It affords both customer appeal due to its display gardens of lavender and is a successful commercial concern. Business plan Predominant factors involved in the operation of a retail lavender nursery, marketing and well organised nursery management, are prerequisites for the efficient production required to fulfil sales projections, be competitive and make a profit. As with any business, there is no more important task than planning. Time spent at this stage will yield great dividends in the future, in both the short and long term. The tangible benefits of ‘thinking time’ may not flow for some time, but provides a sound infrastructure on which the execution of jobs, from propagation to selling, can operate smoothly and efficiently. Once the initial business plan is in operation the rolling programme Read more […]

Good garden lavenders

There are many lavender species and cultivars which make good garden and patio plants. Many new cultivars are coming to market to add to the 150+ already in existence. Most are the result of what could be described as passive breeding programmes, selections from a seed population with rather uncertain provenance. There are, however, some fine lavenders available as a consequence. More rigorous active breeding programmes are destined to result in greater improvements in commercial and garden cultivars. The following selection is presented according to hardiness, one of the main criteria customers use when buying lavender. Experience has indicated that plants may survive temperatures about 5°C below those shown, provided it is not for long periods and the soil is relatively dry. Hence, the need for good drainage if lavenders are to thrive. Very hardy lavenders These traditional lavenders are the easiest to grow, most reliable and effective for the flower border or for hedging. Their unsurpassed scent and colour are evocative of summer. Hardy to at least — 15°C, they will cope with most conditions. They fall into two groups, true lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Lavandin (L. x intermedia). Lavandula angustifolia Read more […]

The retail lavender nursery: Production

Propagation There is no mystery to the art of propagation as long as it is remembered that the propagator provides the total life support for a cutting until it is rooted. Two efficient means of propagating lavender are to use a low tunnel in a greenhouse or to use a mist bench. The effect is much the same. Bottom heat at about 23°C can be supplied by either a soil warming cable in moist sand or a foil panel with a heating element, covered with polythene and capillary matting. The latter provides a more even heat, but rapidly cools if there is a power failure. The humidity developed in a low tunnel provides similar conditions to a mist unit operated using an electronic wet leaf to control length of misting. With a mist system rooting is aided by keeping the base of the cutting warm and the top cool. Cuttings Cuttings are best taken in late August and early September for overwintering as a liner (9 cm pot). The plant material needs to be soft and about 5 cm in length preferably from a non-flowering shoot. The type of cutting whether nodal, internodal or heal, makes little difference at this level. Cutting material should be taken from perfect specimens of the lavender required. Substandard plants either through Read more […]

The retail lavender nursery: Nursery management

Efficient staff The role of efficient staff in administration, production and sales cannot be underestimated. It is critical that each department of the business knows what the other is doing. Experience dictates that team work among a core staff of dedicated and loyal individuals, in a relaxed atmosphere, creates the healthiest and most productive working environment. The office is the centre of all aspects of nursery operations. Mismanagement here, can be costly elsewhere. The computer is the most productive tool in efficient office management, but only if staff are fully conversant with software. The first task of nursery management is to prepare a budget and cash flow forecast for the coming year. Preferably on a rolling monthly basis. This will highlight what lavenders need to be ready to supply income at given times of the year. The principle selling season is the beginning of May to the end of July with August and September providing additional income rather than substantial income. The consumer has yet to be convinced that autumn planting is in many ways better than spring planting. The wholesale lavender nursery would undoubtedly find the selling season brought forward by a few months. Production Read more […]

Lavender growing in England for essential oil production

England’s modern lavender industry: Norfolk Lavender History of the business The family-run business originated in 1932, when Linn Chilvers founded Norfolk Lavender and planted the first six acres in Heacham, Norfolk. The demand for lavender during the First World War had been intense as it was used as a disinfectant for wounds when mixed with sphagnum moss. Most of the other English lavender companies around London had died down so this became the main supplier of lavender plants and oil. In 1932, planting was done by three men and a boy in 18 days for a total cost of £15! The lavender was subsequently harvested by hand and taken by horse and cart to the railway station at Heacham and transported to Long Melford in Suffolk for distillation. Lavender perfume The oil was used in a secret formula to produce a perfume, made originally for King George IV by Mr Avery, a chemist interested in French perfumery. The perfume was made in a garden shed and bottled by two of Linn Chilvers’ sisters. Only hundreds were then made and sold. After the death of Mr Avery, the formula was purchased by Norfolk Lavender, and now many thousands are being made and sold. In 1936, the company acquired three stills; one was new Read more […]

History of usage of Lavandula species

The term lavender is considered to come from the Latin ’lavando’ part of the verb ’lavare’ to bathe, the Romans having used many plants to perfume their baths. The Greeks and Romans also referred to lavender as nard, from the Latin Nardus Italica, after the Syrian town Naarda. This was the beginning of much confusion as to which plant was being referred to in classical and medieval times. Lavandula is obvious, however nard and spike can refer to spike lavender or to spikenard (a plant imported from India during the Middle Ages and equally popular then for its aromatic properties). Despite much learned investigation into the identification of lavender in the writings of classical authors; it has remained impossible to unquestionably identify Lavandula vera or Lavandula spica. Lavandula stoechas is, however, distinctly referred to by both Dioscorides and Pliny. An alternative, but less likely explanation from Victorian times connected the name to the Latin ’livere’ meaning to be livid or bluish. Historical review of the use of lavender Main functions of lavender in the past There is a mystery surrounding the actual appearance or reappearance of lavender in Britain after Roman times. The Huguenots have Read more […]

History of usage of Lavandula species: transcriptions of texts in historical section

Abbess Hildegard When a person with palsy (possibly Parkinson’s disease) is afflicted they should take galangale (a rhizome with similar properties to ginger), with half as much nutmeg (50 per cent of the amount of galangale), and half as much of spike lavender as nutmeg, plus an equal amount of githrut (probably gith or black cumin) and lovage. To these he should add equal weights (amounts) of female fern and saxifrage (these two together should be equal to the five precious ingredients). Pulverise these in a pestle and mortar. If the patient is (well) strong, he should eat this powder on bread, if (ill) weak he should eat an electuary (soft pill made with honey) made from it. So today we might say, for example, the five precious ingredients: 100 gms of galangale; 50 gms of nutmeg; 25 gms spike lavender; 12.5 gms each of githrut and lovage. To this add: 100 gms each of female fern and saxifrage. The second recipe quoted is easier to understand, but less obviously effective. Lavender is hot and dry (referring to its properties under the Galenic system of medicine), having very little moisture (it is indeed a dry herb). It is not pleasant to eat, but does have a strong smell. If a person with many lice frequently Read more […]

Historical review of the use of lavender

The classical physicians Lavender has been used as a healing plant and was first mentioned by Dioscorides (c. 40—90 AD) who found what was probably Lavandula stoechas growing on the islands of Stoechades (now known as Hyeres); this was used in Roman communal baths. Dioscorides attributed to the plant some laxative and invigorating properties and advised its use in a tea-like preparation for chest complaints. The author also recounts that Galen (129—99 ad) added lavender to his list of ancient antidotes for poison and bites and thus Nero’s physician used it in anti-poison pills and for uterine disorders. Lavender in wine was taken for snake bites stings, stomach aches, liver, renal and gall disorders, jaundice and dropsy. Pliny differentiated between Lavandula stoechas and Lavandula vera, the latter was apparently used only for diluting expensive perfumes. Pliny the Elder advocated lavender for bereavement as well as promoting menstruation. Abbess Hildegard The Abbess Hildegard (1098—1179) of Bingen near the Rhine in what is now Germany, was the first person in the Middle Ages to clearly distinguish between Lavandula vera and Lavandula spica (): On Palsy one who is tormented should take galangale, with Read more […]

General introduction to the genus Lavandula

Lavandula species (Labiatiae, syn. Lamiaceae) are mainly grown for their essential oils, which are used in perfumery, cosmetics, food processing and nowadays also in ‘aromatherapy’ products. The dried flowers have also been used from time immemorial in pillows, sachets etc. for promoting sleep and relaxation. Numerous lavender plants are also sold as ornamental plants for the garden; these include Lavandula latifolia, Lavandula pinnata, Lavandula lanata, Lavandula dentata and Lavandula stoechas and their numerous cultivars. Lavender oil, distilled from Lavandula angustifolia was used extensively in Victorian times as a perfume and applied in numerous cosmetic products, but now it is used mainly in combination with other essential oils and aromachemicals. This species and numerous hybrids/cultivars, for example, Lavandin ‘grosso’ were originally grown in the South of France, but are now grown virtually round the world. True lavender oil, consisting mainly of linalool and linalyl acetate, has a very variable composition due to the genetic instability of the oil-producing plants and variations due to temperature, water quantity, altitude, fertilizers, time of year, geographic distribution etc. The chemical composition Read more […]

Lavender: Practice Points – Patient Counselling. FAQ

• The active part of lavender is the volatile oil, which has relaxing, sedative, antispasmodic and antiseptic activity. • Lavender can be taken as a tincture or tea, or the oil can be applied topically, used in baths or inhaled from a diffuser. • It is advised that topical preparations be tested on a small area of skin before widespread application. • Lavender has traditionally been used for sleep disorders, anxiety and nervous stomach, as well as to treat minor cuts, burns, bruises and insect bites and is commonly found in cosmetics and toiletries. • Lavender contains substances that are currently being studied for cancer prevention. Answers to Patients’ Frequently Asked Questions What will this herb do for me? Lavender oil is used to assist in relaxation, digestive problems and as first aid for minor skin conditions. When will it start to work? As a relaxant, effects may be felt on the first day of use, but this will depend on the dose and form used. Are there any safety issues? Although lavender has not been scientifically studied as extensively as some other herbal medicines, historical use suggests it is generally safe. Read more […]