Dateline: 16 June 2007
Lavender is, to me one of the most pleasing of botanical fragrances. Both the leaves and the flowers are an aromatic delight.
Perhaps this herb appeals to me because of its calming and relaxing effect. Many evenings, before I go to bed, I rub a couple drops of lavender essential oil into the soles of my feet. I do this because I was told it would help me have a deeper and more relaxing sleep, and it usually does. Distilled herbal oils are powerful substances.
I used to think that lavender was a plant that grew only in far away places, like France. But I discovered that it will grow in my upstate New York climate. Winters here can be hard on lavender. Sometimes a plant will die from the cold. But if it survives the winter, lavender will do very well in the growing season.
I bought my first lavender plant, a bare root cutting, from an Ebay seller for a couple dollars. I’ve since bought other varieties of lavendula from local nurseries. Last year, I tried rooting some cuttings and had some success with that.
Lavender leaves and flowers can be cut, dried, and sewed into small "dream pillows." Dream Pillows are around six inches square. You slip one inside your pillowcase. Other herbs, like hops, are particularly effective inside a relaxing and sleep-enhancing dream pillow.
The long, delicate flower stems of lavender can be snipped off the plants, tied into small bunches and hung in your home for a fragrant decoration. I once made several fresh lavender flower bundles and Marlene sold them at the farmer's market.
I really dislike non-functional clutter (i.e., knickknacks) in my home. But objects from nature, like a bundle of lavender flowers, are different. Such things are special because they are actual examples of God’s beautiful creation. All the natural world around us testifies to the glory of God. When we bring portions of nature into our home they serve as reminders of the greatness of the Lord.
Now I am going to share with you a little secret I have discovered for enjoying fresh lavender. I developed this idea while working in my garden. Working in the garden can sometimes be especially inspiring, as you are about to see.
As I often do, I picked a sprig of green lavender leaves, rolled them lightly between my fingers to crush them and release more of the fresh fragrance. I held the leaves close to my nose, savoring the rich lavender essence. Then came the great idea...
Why not stuff the fresh lavender greens in my nose? That way, I could work in the garden while continuing to breathe in and enjoy the lavender fragrance. Why not, indeed. So I lightly packed both nostrils with lavender greens, thus creating a very effective natural lavender inhaler.
This idea worked so well that when my wife, Marlene, and son, James, came out a little later to see me in the garden, I excitedly told them of my new discovery. I demonstrated the special technique. To my disappointment,Marlene frowned and said, "You’re weird," and walked away.
I called after her, encouraging her to gently cram some fresh lavender greens into her nose too, but she refused. James, however, took to the idea and packed both his nostrils with lavender leaves. Upon seeing the sight of my son,a chip off the proverbial block, with lavender up his nose, I said, “Hey, hold on while I get my camera. I’ll blog about this!”
James was reluctant to have a picture of himself with lavender in his nose posted to the internet, where everyone in the world could see it. I offered him a dollar for a picture. But he held out for two. He’s a good sport but he drives a hard bargain.
When I told Marlene later that I was going to blog about my lavender inhaler idea, she said, "Don’t do that. That’s stupid."
Well, I beg to differ.
But, alas, so many great nonconformist innovators throughout history have been discouraged and ridiculed by those who saw their ideas as stupid. The truth is, as they say, "in the pudding." Or, in this case, in the nose.
Try it sometime and you’ll see what I mean.