Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Fragrant Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls

 
As far as household chores go, pulling warm, freshly dried clothes and linens from the dryer is a pretty good one.  It's even better when they are soft and static-free.  It's even, even better when "soft and static-free" is achieved by a non-toxic, chemical-free method.  Dryer balls are a wonderfully effective way to do just that without the need of synthetic fabric softeners and chemical-laced dryer sheets.  
 
Dryer balls keep clothes separated during the dry cycle allowing the heated air to circulate more freely, reducing wrinkles, increasing softness and drying more quickly which ultimately reduce energy consumption.  When made from 100% wool, they also help absorb static to keep clothing static-free.
 
And, bonus - they are the perfect vehicle for bringing the fresh, fragrant scent of lavender to your laundry!
 
Fragrant Laundry With Homemade Lavender Dryer Balls 
 

How to make wool dryer balls

 
Making wool dryer balls at home is simple and requires minimal supplies.  They are essentially balls of felted wool.  Have you ever accidentally dried a wool sweater only to find it has shrunk and the fabric have been come more dense?  That is felting.  Moisture, heat and agitation cause wool fibers to shrink and latch on to each other.  While a frustrating result for your sweater, it's perfect for creating natural dryer balls.
 
How many balls should you make?  For most household dryers, 3 balls is ideal.

What you'll need

  • 100% wool yarn (un-dyed)
  • scissors
  • a crochet hook or large needle
  • a bit of cotton string
  • a pair of nylons or cheesecloth or even a sock will do
  • a large pot of water or access to a washing machine
  • access to a dryer
A note on the wool: 
100% wool yarn or thin fabric strips are a must to create dryer balls.  (Remember that sweater you felted in the dryer?  If it is 100% pure wool you can cut it into thin strips and use it just like yarn to make your dryer ball.)  Wool fibers have small barbs on the outside of the individual strands that will latch on to each other to create a more solid finish and the density needed for the ball to hold its shape.  Using un-dyed wool will ensure there is no possibility of dye transfer onto your damp clothing.

Fragrant Laundry With Homemade Lavender Dryer Balls

Step 1

The first step is to wind up the inner core of the ball.  Start by wrapping the yarn around 3 fingers until it is substantial enough to hold in your hand.  
 
How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls for Lavender Laundry
 
As you continue to wind, keeping the yarn tight, switch directions regularly so that the core is equally round. 
 
How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls for Lavender Laundry
 
How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls for Lavender Laundry
 
Continue until the core is roughly the size of a tennis ball.  Cut a yarn tail a few inches long and draw it through the core with a crochet hook so that it is secure and will not unravel.  Make all three of these inner cores before moving on to the next step.

How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls for Lavender Laundry
 

Step 2

When the three inner cores are finished, slide them into the leg of a pair of nylons.  Using the cotton string tie, off between each core so that each is tightly encased.  If you do not have a pair of nylons, wrap each core tightly in cheesecloth and tie off.

How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls

How to Make Homemade Dryer Balls

Step 3

Add the dryer ball cores to a pot of water and bring to a boil.  Remove the pot from the heat and agitate the balls periodically until the water cools.  This method can be a little smelly.  If you prefer your kitchen to not smell of a wet, wool sweater, you can pour the just-boiled water and dryer ball cores into the washing machine and run a small, short cycle on hot to shrink and felt the wool.

Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls
 

Step 4

Squeeze any remaining water from the dryer ball cores and put them in the dryer on high heat until dry.  When they are dry, cut the knots between each and remove them from the nylons.  
 
Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls
 
Now you are ready to finish the balls.  In the same manner as step 1, continue wrapping the core until each ball is roughly 4 inches in diameter.  This is slightly larger than the finished balls will be as they will shrink again before it is finished.

Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls

Repeat steps 2 and 3.  Your dryer balls are now finished and ready to use!

Note: If your dryer balls are not as felted as you'd like, repeat steps 2 and 3 until you achieve the finish and tight felting you desire.  Some wool yarns may require a few rounds of felting depending on how tightly they are spun.

Handmade wool dryer balls will last for many years.  Simply add three to each dryer load of wet laundry.  And, don't forget your organic lavender essential oil!
 
Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls
 
Who needs "fresh mountain spring" or "spring breeze" (whatever they smell like!?) when you can infuse your laundry with the fresh, fragrance of pure lavender?  Add a few drops of our organic lavender essential oil to each wool dryer ball a few hours before use, which will permit the oil to absorb further into the fibers and sustain a longer aroma release.  The heat from the dryer activates and disperses the lavender oil and lightly fragrances fabrics and surroundings.   For an additional boost of fragrance, pause the dry cycle just before the cool, air fluff portion and add a few more drops of essential oil to the dryer balls and recommence the cycle.
 
Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls with Organic Lavender Essential Oil

Our lavender plants are organically and sustainably grown and harvested on our San Juan Island, WA farm.  We even distill our lavender essential oil at our own on-site distillery.  
 
Bring a touch of aromatherapy to your laundry chores and try our Organic Lavender Essential Oil to impart a 100% green and natural fragrance to your dryer-friendly washables.  When you empty the dryer, imagine yourself meandering through a field of blooming lavender on a warm, sunny day...

Extend the experience of blooming fields of lavender to your ironing or bedtime preparations with Lavender Linen Water. 

Fragrant Lavender Laundry With Homemade Dryer Balls and Lavender Linen Water

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Our Favorite Lavender Products Wherever We Go

The usefulness of lavender has been on record for more than two millennia.  Some of the earliest references to using lavender come from ancient Egypt where it was reputedly used as part of the mummification process, and from the Roman Empire as a regular bathing adjunct and personal fragrance.  Throughout history it has been well-regarded for it's broad range of uses — from personal care and therapy to household care and culinary.

Today, lavender's naturally occurring properties continue to provide benefit to nearly every aspect of daily life.  Whether one is being creative in the kitchen, caring for their health and well-being, managing their home, caring for their pets, cultivating a garden, etc., lavender has a useful place.

Here are a few of our favorite lavender products that we (and lots of others) love to use at home or out and about.

 

Lavender Insect Repellant

 
Indispensable for outdoor activities, evenings in the backyard, picnics, camping, boating, hiking or while in the garden, our Lavender Insect Repellant takes advantage of lavender essential oil's long recognized and naturally occurring insect repellant qualities.  The safe (for everyone - including pets) and gentle formula helps to ward off mosquitoes, black flies, gnats and fleas and may also provide protection against ticks. 

"Best I ever used. Saw and heard insects, but they didn't bite me! Not sticky or smelly!"
Susan - New York
 

 

Lavender Lip Balm

Perfectly sized for purse or pocket, our all-natural Lavender Lip Balm formula uniquely blends several naturally occurring oils recognized over the centuries for their extraordinary moisturizing, healing and protective properties.  Especially suitable for the prevention and management of acute and chronic lip dryness or irritation.

"I bought this for my 12 year old granddaughter whose lips are always dry. She loves it!"
Christine - Connecticut 


 
 

Lavender Lip Therapy

Our all-natural Lavender Lip Therapy extends the traditional moisturizing benefits of lip balm.  It has been specially formulated to provide antiseptic and anti-inflammatory therapeutic benefits that are particularly beneficial for treating severe dryness and preventing cold sores.  It is also uniquely packaged as a lipstick, not only for convenience but also as this allows the therapy to be applied to the inflamed area of the lips without requiring finger contact.

"This is one of my favorite lip savers. It is light, never sticky and works. Please don't change the formula - this one really works!"
Yogaenthusiast - Massachusetts


 

Lavender Hand Sanitizer

Wherever hand washing isn't available, Lavender Hand Sanitizer brings together the natural sanitizing and soothing qualities of our own farm-distilled organic lavender essential oil. The inherent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties of lavender shine in this regularly-used product — in both alcohol-free and alcohol-based versions.

"I love your Lavender Hand Sanitizer! It is superior to any other hand sanitizer out there. Appreciate how it is not sticky, stinky, but indeed nourishing and has a pleasant lavender fragrance ... can’t imagine using anything else."
Janis - Washington

 



Lavender Body Mist

A long-standing favorite in our handcrafted product line, this fragrant mist incorporates the organic lavender essential oil and organic lavender hydrosol from our on-site distillation of the flowers we harvest from our organically certified fields.  Use as a personal fragrance and to rehydrate dry skin, cool sunburn and soothe minor irritations

"I love the body mist. There are no chemicals added, so it is safe for skin and materials. I love having it with me on a hot summer day for a quick refresher!"
Kathryn - Illinois

 

Where do you use lavender?  At home, at work, running errands or adventuring?  What Pelindaba Lavender product do you take with you wherever you go?   

We always like to hear from you in the comments below.

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!