Wednesday, September 23, 2020

How to Prune Lavender for Winter

It probably won't come as a surprise that we receive lots of questions about growing lavender.  One of the most common questions is about pruning — how, when, etc.  Pruning is absolutely essential for good flower development and to prevent overly woody stalks.  It's an easy step in caring for your lavender plant, let's get to it.

We find the best time to prune lavender in the Pacific Northwest is fall, well before the first frosts come.  In your own garden, as you are preparing your other plantings for the winter, add "prune the lavender" to your fall gardening checklist.

We use gas-powered hedge trimmers to prune the 30,000+ plants in our fields.  Garden clippers or hedge shears (pictured) or even scissors work great for a few plants in the garden.


How far back to prune is now the important question.  Cut the flowers and stalks down to within 2 leaf nodes above the grey/brown woody part of the stem at the very base of the plant (leaving approximately 2-3 inches of green stalk).  To determine where this is on your plant, hold back some stalks so that you can see into the woody base of the plant.  Count 2 leaf nodes or 2-3 inches above the woody transition.  This is your pruning marker.

A good rule for your "green" thumb is — brown is bad, green is good.  You want to avoid cutting into the woody base of the plant.  Lavender does not tolerate pruning like many rose varieties that you can prune right down to the base of the plant.  Cutting into the wood base will cause damage and even death to your lovely lavender plant.  So remember, keep your pruning in the green stalks.  Brown is bad, green is good!

If your lavender plant has been deprived of its annual pruning for some years, it's likely become quite leggy and the woody base has begun to sprawl and will be quite top heavy when in bloom.  Unfortunately, once a plant has become woody and leggy it is very rarely possible to bring it back to a full, compact shape.  We suggest replacing the plant at this stage and starting your pruning rhythm at year one.  That's what we do at the farm.

Back to pruning... Once you have established your pruning marker, grab your tool and get at it.  As you do so, try to maintain a compact hemispherical shape.  This will help maintain the shape of the lavender plant the following season. When you are finished the lavender plant should look like a little grey/green hedgehog.

 

Once pruned the plants enter their winter dormancy until the new growth appears in the spring.  After you have pruned all your plants, you'll likely have quite a collection of clippings.  These clippings make a wonderful mulch or, at the very least, addition to the compost bin.  

With these pruning tips at the ready, mark "prune the lavender" on your calendar this fall well before the first frosts arrive.  You'll thank yourself in the spring with the new growth comes bursting forth, energized from a long winter's nap.  Enjoy "tucking your lavender in" for the winter.  

If you have any questions, we're always here for you and your lavender.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Lavender For Those Who Aren't Fond of Purple

When you hear the word lavender, what do you think of first?  The color, the plant, the fragrance, the phenomenally versatile essential oil...?  For many, a color palette from pale violet to vibrant purple is immediately conjured.  For some this is a welcome visual, but for others much less so.  Purple is a color that invokes strong reactions — we have found people either really love it or don't. 

For those in the latter camp, you are not alone, nor are you out of luck when it comes to growing lavender.  There are many varieties that boast beautiful, non-purple flowers.  There are pink lavenders, white lavenders and even a yellowy-green variety.

White Lavender For Those Who Aren't Fond of Purple

Some of our favorite non-purple varieties are...

Pink:

  • Lavandula angustifolia "Hidcote Pink"
  • Lavandula angustifolia "Rosea"
  • Lavandula angustifolia "Jean Davis"

White:

  • Lavandula angustifolia "Alba"
  • Lavandula x intermedia "Cathy Blanc" (pictured)
  • Lavandula x intermedia "Edelweiss"

Yellowy-Green:

  • Lavandula viridis

If the botanical names are a bit confusing, we have a botanical tutorial on how to read scientific plant names.

For those who want to add lavender to their gardens, but aren't thrilled about adding purple, the above options are striking and fragrant!

Beyond the garden, experiencing the daily-life benefits of lavender for the body, kitchen, home and pets without a lot of purple packaging can be hard.  For obvious reasons, shades of purple are an equally obvious packaging choice.  Not so at Pelindaba Lavender.  Our handcrafted products are presented in colors and materials to suit a wide range of non-purple aesthetic tastes. 

The crystalline clarity of our Lavender Linen Water packaging will reflect the decor of any bedroom or laundry room, and the black glass and bamboo lids of our white waxed Lavender Essential Oil Candles are both modern and elegant for both home and office.

White Lavender Products For Those Who Aren't Fond of Purple

Sleek, brushed stainless bottles with black fittings house our Lavender Shaving Gel and Lavender After Shave, and classic white and black for our Lavender Hand & Body Lotion.  

Lavender Hand & Body Lotion handmade by Pelindaba Lavender

One of our most popular products — Lavender Therapeutic Salve — is nestled in a brushed silver jar with glistening accents.

Lavender Therapeutic Salve for dry skin handmade in small batches by Pelindaba Lavender

Luxurious golden hues with contrasting black fittings adorn our Lavender Body Wash and Lavender Body Oil.  Vibrant blue invokes the cooling and refreshing attributes of our Lavender Body Mist.  Rich cobalt glass carries our decadent Lavender Massage Oil and the "liquid gold" we distill from our organic lavender flowers — Organic Lavender Essential Oil.
 
Lavender Products for the Body for Those Who Aren't Fond of Purple

Whether for your garden or yourself or your home... there are options aplenty for experiencing all things lavender sans purple.

Psst...don't tell anyone, several of our staff members love lavender, but aren't all that fond of purple either.  Really, you don't have to like purple to bring the many, joy-creating benefits of lavender into your daily life. 

White Lavender Plants for those who don't like purple

Monday, August 31, 2020

Lavender Chamomile Tea - A Calming Bedtime Ritual To Aid Sleep


Many of us have well established morning rituals that we have practiced countless times before to welcome the new day.  Whether these rituals are brief or complex, quick or lengthy, they are deeply personal and requisite for feeling ready for whatever lies ahead in the new day.

Evening routines, on the other hand, are much less common.  How many of us have a ritual we perform at the close of the day to prepare us for a restful night?  Good nightly sleep is vital to overall health and to productive days.  Should we not, therefore, take as much care with the beginning of our nights as we do with the beginning of our days?

Since most morning rituals include a warm beverage, we will need one for our evening routine.  Being naturally caffeine-free, our Organic Lavender Chamomile Tea is an ideal companion for the evening.

Herbal Caffeine-Free Tea made with our organic lavender for bedtime

The flowery combination of the finest organic Egyptian chamomile flowers grown in the Nile Delta and our own organically grown “Provence” culinary lavender will help you relax and unwind.  The aromatic and flavorful chamomile is naturally caffeine-free and is an excellent calming and soothing herbal tea.  The similar properties of lavender make this unique herbal tea blend — relaxing and comforting.

Its calming effect will also help reduce stress and anxiety, making it one of the best teas to enjoy when settling down for a good night’s sleep.  This aromatic and relaxing caffeine-free tea brews to a light golden color and has a natural floral sweetness.

Herbal Caffeine-Free Tea made with our organic lavender for bedtime


A Calming Evening Ritual

Best performed near bedtime to aid sleep.

 

Step 1 : Turn off the screen

All of them!  That means the TV, computer, tablet, phone, etc.  This is a time to pause the constant stream of content we encounter in our modern lives.  This is a time to slow the pace at which we are moving, thinking and processing and begin to prepare for the quiet pace the body and mind need for the night.

 

Step 2: Lower the lights

Reducing the lighting at home in the evenings will help queue your internal clock that it's time to prepare for sleep.  Following its circadian rhythm, the body can respond to bright light in the same way it does to the rising sun – it's time to get up (or stay up in this case)!

 

Step 3: Brew a cup of Organic Lavender Chamomile Tea

  • Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil.
  • Use one teaspoon of whole leaf Organic Lavender Chamomile Tea for each cup desired.
  • Pour boiling water over tea and let it steep for 3-6 minutes according to taste.
  • Remove tea and enjoy.

 

Step 4: Spend the next 30 minutes slowly

Curl up with a blanket and spend some time reading a favorite book.  Or, perhaps, gather loved ones on the couch and talk about the day that has past and the day that is approaching.  A lavender bath might be up your alley.  Or, bundle up and watch the stars with your hot tea in hand.  Whatever you do, let it be something that slows the evening and promotes a sense of calm.

Herbal Caffeine-Free Tea made with our organic lavender for bedtime

Step 5: Smell the lavender

Just before retiring, apply a couple drops of Organic Lavender Essential Oil just under the nose.  Lavender essential oil's natural sedative properties will help you quickly drift off to sleep.  We like to keep a roll-on bottle of lavender essential oil on the night stand to reapply should we be awakened during the night.

To sleeping well!



Are you a little unsure about a Lavender Chamomile Tea? Here's what others say:

Carrie from Texas
"So relaxing for my evening cup of tea! My sister loves the tea so much too!!! I gave her some tins as a gift and she is hooked!"

Autumn from Washington
"This tea is a delicious healthy beverage that I love to drink before bed. I use one teaspoon for a pot of tea and steep it for 30 minutes. Its soothing taste and aroma helps me relax after a long day."

NG from Florida
"Sleepy time, here I come! Mild taste."

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Anatomy of Lavender

The 1800s were a period of intense interest in the the natural world.  As the scientific community's energetic pursuit to understand and classify living organisms took botanists and biologists to the farthest reaches of the earth, the discipline of taxonomy took shape.  Taxonomy is the science of describing, naming and classifying groups of biological organisms based on shared characteristics.  Standardizing how we organize and label the living world brought us the systematic terminology we are accustomed today when discussing animals and plants and lavender...

A Botanical Lesson at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

In daily vernacular we use the word "lavender" to describe a community of plants that is wildly diverse in terms of color, flower shape, foliage color and shape, blooming time, etc.  While commonly used terms have their useful place, in the case of lavender it rather sells the breadth of its diversity short.

Have you ever considered the plant that lies beyond the name "lavender"?  Each variety of this unique community of plants has its own particular name just as each part of the plant has its own name.  The classification and anatomy of lavender is a rich trove in and of its self.

Join us out in the fields for a little botanical lesson of some of the varieties of lavender we grow.

A Botanical Lesson at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

A brief walk through the fields with garden scissors in hand yields a wealth of specimens of the genus Lavandula.  The Latin name Lavandula broadly stems from the ancient use of lavender in bathing.  Derived from the word lavare (Latin) meaning "to wash", it has been associated with the act of cleansing the body, linens and the home for millennia.  There are roughly 40 species and over 400 varieties of Lavandula - we have selected just a few to focus on.

A Botanical Lesson at Pelindaba Lavender Farm

Before we look at the specific anatomy of lavender, let's take a moment to discuss it's scientific name.  It's quite possible that on trip to the grocery store or hardware store you have seen lavender plants for sale.  Unfortunately, it's also quite possible that the labels on those plants just read "lavender".  While technically true, such generalization may not be helpful to the keen gardener.

We always recommend sourcing lavender from a reputable nursery that accurately labels its plants with their full, scientific name.  Scientific naming conventions may look intimidating, but they are quite easy to understand once you understand their structure.

How to read scientific plant names

Genus

The genus always comes first. You may see it spelled out in its entirety (Lavandula) or abbreviated with the first letter capitalized followed by a period (L.).  It is often italicized.

Species

The species name follows the genus. You will likely see it italicized and the first letter not capitalized.  If you see the species name preceded by an "x" it signifies this plant is a hybrid or cross between two different species.  For example Lavandula x intermedia is a cross between Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia.

Variety or Varietal

The name of the plant variety is always last.  You may see it in quotes and it is usually capitalized as a proper name.

How to read scientific plant names of lavender

 

The Anatomy of Lavender

As mentioned, lavender is wildly diverse in appearance.  Flower color ranges from white to pink and every shade of purple imaginable, and foliage color ranges from vibrant grass green to dusty gray.  The shape and size of the flowerheads are as unique as is their corresponding foliage shape.  

That being said, we have selected two varieties of the angustifolia and stoechas species to detail their various parts with both botanical and common namings.

The anatomy of lavender flowers

The anatomy of lavender flowers

We hope this brief botanical lesson has been helpful to you and will deepen your appreciation for the lavender in your own garden.

There are few things better then spending the day in the garden or field and talking about plants.  If you have any specific questions about lavender or growing it in your own garden, please ask away in the comments below.  We could talk about lavender all day long!

A botanical lesson about lavender

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Lavender Roasted Corn On the Cob

Fresh, sweet corn and fresh, pungent herbs from the garden create a summertime side that is as mouthwatering as it is easy to prepare.  Let's turn this summer bounty...

 
 ...into this tasty dish!
 


Lavender Herb Roasted Corn

With just a few fresh ingredients and a few simple steps, this delicious side will complement a summer meal in a snap.  If you don't have ready access to fresh herbs, this recipe works well with dried herbs and our dried Organic Culinary Lavender too!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lavender buds
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 ears fresh corn, husks removed



Step 1:

Preheat oven to 425°F or fire up the grill.  Either method works well.  Mix together butter, lavender, parsley, garlic, rosemary, thyme, salt, and pepper in a bowl until evenly combined.



Step 2:

Spread approximately 1 tablespoon of the herbed butter on each corn cob.  Wrap each individually in aluminum foil.  Place foil-wrapped corn on a baking sheet.



Step 3: 

Bake in the preheated oven or grill until corn is soft.  This usually takes 20 to 25 minutes.  Turn once halfway through cook time.  When the corn is finished cooking, remove the fragrant ears of buttery corn from foil, allow to cool slightly and eat up!

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Lavender Chocolate S'mores


Summer campfires — at the campground or in the backyard — are a delightful way to spend an evening during the warmer months of the year.  And, since it's hard to have a campfire and not toast some marshmallows, we had better talk about s'mores.

The basic s'more recipe is easy enough, but it's even easier to take your s'mores from basic to gourmet!  We'll show you how!  Hint...it's all about the chocolate!

Organic Lavender Chocolate to make gourmet Lavender Chocolate S'mores

Lavender Chocolate S'Mores

  • Marshmallows
  • Graham Crackers
  • Organic Lavender Gourmet Chocolate - white, milk and dark

How to make gourmet Lavender Chocolate S'mores

After you have started your campfire, you'll need to wait a bit for some nice, hot coals to form around the base.  While you are waiting on the the roasting coals, prep your roasting forks or an obliging stick with a knife-sharpened end.  This is a great time to break the graham crackers in half and snap the Organic Lavender Gourmet Chocolate into two pieces, which are perfectly sized to fit on the graham crackers.
 
Toasting Marshmallows and Making Lavender Chocolate S'Mores

Once the fire has burned down a bit and you have a nice, hot bed of roasting coals, pop a marshmallow on the end of a roasting stick and gently turn it continuously over the coals to create a golden brown crust surrounding the gooey marshmallow center.

For assembly, choose your "lavendery" chocolate of preference (white, milk or dark - or a combination!) and layer up your delicious s'more.  As you bite into your lavender s'more, close your eyes and picture you are at the farm, surrounded by lavender lazily dancing in the evening summer breeze.  Good luck just having one! 

Lavender Chocolate S'Mores  Lavender Chocolate S'Mores Recipe

If you need a campfire beverage to accompany your Lavender Chocolate S'mores, we suggest our Lavender Hot Chocolate.  You really can't have too much lavender or chocolate.

Note: Each Organic Lavender Gourmet Chocolate bar is comprised of 8 smaller squares.  As shown, each bar will make two decadent s'mores.

How to make decadent Lavender Chocolate S'Mores

Friday, July 17, 2020

How To Make The Perfect Lavender Lemon Mimosa


The mimosa is a standard on the traditional brunch menu.  It's sparkly, citrus flavor is the perfect way to bridge a breakfast beverage with celebration.  Plus, who doesn't love to drink things from fluted glasses!?

Are mimosas strictly for brunch?  By no means!  Let's liberate the mimosa and introduce it to other times of day.  How about mid-afternoon on a warm, summer day?  And, while we are at it let's explore beyond the orange for our citrus flavor.  Can we tempt you with a Lavender Lemon Mimosa?

How To Make The Perfect Lavender Lemon Mimosa

The Lavender Lemon Mimosa


This refreshing cocktail really couldn't be easier.  It's two ingredients!
  • Lavender Lemonade
  • Something Sparkling

Let's start with the Lavender Lemonade.  The simplest method for making this delicious ingredient is with our Lavender Lemonade Mix.  It contains everything needed (directions and ingredients) to make 8 cups / 64 fl oz.  All you need to do is add water!

How to Make Pelindaba Lavender's Lemonade

If you have a favorite lemonade recipe that you'd like to use, you can make it "lavender" by cooking up a Lavender Simple Syrup and simply adding it to your lemonade until the taste has the perfect amount of lavender for your palate.  (See recipe below)

Now for something sparkling!  Sparkling wine or champagne are the best options for the traditional cocktail and they both create wonderful bubbles.  For a non-alcoholic mimosa, sparkling lemon-flavored water or sparkling apple cider both work well.

How To Make The Perfect Lavender Lemon Mimosa

With your festive glassware at hand, the ratio of ingredients is equal parts lavender lemonade and your "sparkling" preference.  Add the sparkling liquid first and then add the lavender lemonade.  This will allow the two to mix naturally.  Avoid stirring as this will cause the sparkling liquid to go flat.

With a garnish of lemon peel, fresh lavender or whatever you have on hand (cocktail umbrellas are fun!) you are ready to toast summer.

How To Make The Perfect Lavender Lemon Mimosa

Organic Lavender Simple Syrup

 

Ingredients:

 

Directions:

In a small sauce pan, combine water and sugar.  Heat over a medium heat until sugar is dissolved and remove from heat.  Add lavender, in a tea infuser, to the heated syrup and let steep.  If you do not have a tea infuser, add the lavender to the hot syrup, then strain the syrup through a fine mesh colander when cooled.  Remove lavender when the syrup has completely cooled.  You now have a delicious syrup ready to be added to your favorite summer cocktail!

 How To Make The Perfect Lavender Lemon Mimosa