Many people are aware that the Provence region of southern France abounds with lavender fields. But did you know that bounteous lavender farms also grace the hillsides of the Pacific Northwest of North America?
"I am attracted to the various hues of lavender from purple and blue to indigo, their calming aroma, and the geometric rhythm created by rows upon rows of lavender shrubs in bloom. I especially like to paint lavender with sunflowers. The juxtaposition of color and texture between the two flowers accentuates the beauty of the other. It was impossible not to paint them! I look forward to lavender season every year." ~ Frédérique Lavios, artist
Notes about Lavender
The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda. It was also commonly called nard.
During Roman times, flowers were sold for 100 denarii per pound, which was about the same as a month's wages for a farm labourer, or fifty haircuts from the local barber. Lavender was commonly used in Roman baths to scent the water, and it was thought to restore the skin. When the Roman Empire conquered southern Britain, the Romans introduced lavender.
The lavenders Lavandula are a genus of about 25-30 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae, including Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula canariensis, Lavandula dentata, Lavandula lanata, Lavandula latifolia, Lavandula multifida, Lavandula pinnata, Lavandula stoechas, Lavandula viridis, and Lavandula x intermedia. It is native from the Mediterranean region south to tropical Africa and east to India.
The genus includes annuals, herbaceous plants, subshrubs, and small shrubs. The native range extends across the Canary Islands, North and East Africa, south Europe and the Mediterranean, Arabia, and India. Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens world-wide, they are occasionally found growing wild, as garden escapees, well beyond their natural range.
The most common species in cultivation is the Common Lavender Lavandula angustifolia (formerly L. officinalis). A wide range of cultivars can be found. Other commonly grown ornamental species are L. stoechas, L. dentata, and L. multifida.
Lavenders are widely grown in gardens. Flower spikes are used for dried flower arrangements. The fragrant, pale purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris. Dried and sealed in pouches, they are placed among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and as a deterrent to moths. The plant is also grown commercially for extraction of lavender oil from the flowers. This oil is used as an antiseptic and for aromatherapy.
Lavender flowers yield abundant nectar which yields a high quality honey for beekeepers. Lavender monofloral honey is produced primarily in the nations around the Mediterranean, and marketed worldwide as a premium product. Lavender flowers can be candied and are used as cake decoration. Lavender is also used as a herb, either alone or as an ingredient of herbes de Provence. Lavender is also used to flavour sugar, the product being called "lavender sugar", and the flowers are sometimes sold in a blend with black tea, as "lavender tea".
Pacific Northwest artist, Frederique Lavios, of Frederique Lavios Studio offers decorative ceramic tiles and tile murals for sale for your home, garden or office including tile murals, kitchen tiles, kitchen murals, kitchen tile murals, bathroom tiles, bathroom tile murals, bathroom murals, lavender murals.