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5 Types of Lavender that Smell Heavenly

Have you been mesmerized by a field of lavender? It’s one of the most relaxing and sensory experiences.  The colours, the aromas and the sounds of softly buzzing bees enhances the whole experience.

Lavender makes a wonderful addition to your home garden for that reason- the heavenly scent.  It is a relatively easy plant to grow in Zone 6 and is known for its longevity and hardiness.

With their vivid color, cut lavender flowers make a nice addition to a home’s interior. A gift of lavender flowers symbolizes purity, devotion, serenity, hence our name.  And in some schools of thought,  it represents love.  Not only does the flower have significance, the purple colour is also symbolic.  Purple is the color of royalty and speaks of elegance, refinement and luxury.

It is certainly a flower you can grow to appreciate. If you love lavender, there are many varietals to choose from, making it easy to become a collector! Just like us at Serenity Lavender.  We have over 40 varieties of lavender on display on site in our gardens and in our field.

In this post we will be focusing on 5 different varietals of Lavendula Angustifolia or English lavender.  Read more to learn which lavender is best for your home and garden. For more information about plant care see our Gardener’s Guide to Growing Lavender.

Folgate Lavender

One of the first to to bloom, a coveted favourite.  The plant grows 20-24″  and is a compact tidy bush with vivid, bright violet flowers.  Soft, sweetly aromatic blooms abound on this dense mid green evergreen with narrow foliage and small neat looking upright spikes. Beautiful as an informal hedge, in rock gardens, and in mass plantings along sunny borders. Folgate is an excellent source of lavender oil and is terrific for culinary use. It is one of the varietals that we use in our culinary lavender.

  • Sun:  full
  • Water:  low once established
  • Soil:  Sandy
  • Hardiness zones: 5-9
  • Bee Friendly
  • Attracts Butterflies
  • Deer and Rabbit Resistant
  • Good for culinary use and hedges
Lavandula Angustifolia - Folgate a bright lavender flower

Folgate Lavender

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Royal Velvet Lavender

Royal Velvet is rich in fragrance and showy in bloom. It is covered with long stemmed, 3-4 inch long, velvety, dark purple-blue flower spikes which are much longer than Hidcote and the hallmark of ‘Royal Velvet’.   Tall, waving flower spikes last and last, and will bloom a second time after a mid-season harvest in the right conditions.  The flowers hold their dark colour extremely well when dried and makes excellent fresh cut bouquets and perfect for dried wreaths.

Long lasting blooms of Royal Velvet lavender

Royal velvet lavender

 

  • Sun:  Full
  • Water: low once established
  • Soil: sandy
  • Hardiness zones: 5-9
  • Bee Friendly
  • Attracts Butterflies
  • Deer and Rabbit Resistant
  • Good for cut bouquets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Blue Lavender

A new addition to our collection,  the fragrant wands of rich lavender-blue flowers deliver a soothing scent in early summer.  ‘Super Blue’ produces blooms that are tighter together, delivering more color and fewer airy gaps. A compact and fragrant Lavender plant with short spikes that tops out at 12″, making it a perfect choice for edging walkways and setting into patio containers.  The large, full blooms lend themselves to cutting and drying.

  • Sun: full
  • Water: low once established
  • Soil: sandy well draining soil
  • Hardiness zones: 5-9
  • Bee Friendly
  • Attracts Butterflies
  • Deer and Rabbit Resistant
  • Good in containers, edging pathways and dried buds
Lavandula angustifolia 'super blue' a pretty lavavender

Super Blue lavender a new varietal at Serenity Lavender

Melissa Lavender

Lavandula ‘Melissa’ is a lovely lavender that was named by Oregon grower Andy van Hevelingen for his wife Melissa. A prolific bloomer with aromatic foliage that perfumes the garden when brushed against. Soft romantic pale lilac blooms offset the fine silvery green foliage.  On mass the flowers appear white from a distance. Very prolific it has a nice upright and compact habit.  The flowers are very sweetly fragrant and persist for a long time.

  • LavenderMelissa

    Lavandula Melissa

    Sun: full

  • Water: low once established
  • Soil: sandy well draining soil
  • Hardiness zones: 5-9
  • Bee Friendly
  • Attracts Butterflies
  • Deer and Rabbit Resistant
  • Good for culinary and fresh bouquets

 

 

Hidcote Lavender

An old favourite, the flowers on this plant are the darkest purple of all lavenders. This erect  greyish green bush with a splayed or floppy habit grows up to 12- 20 inches tall and approximately 24-30 inches wide depending on soil conditions.  The flower stems are short but very aromatic.  It is an excellent choice for edging and borders.  In the right conditions this plant will bloom continually until the first frost, albeit with a smaller flush of flowers. To enhance blooming, cutting back the stems of faded flowers will enhance a second and third bloom.  Hidcote retains it’s colour and is excellent dried  and culinary use

  • Sun: full
  • Water: low once established
  • Soil: sandy well draining soil
  • Climate: hot summers and warm winters
  • Hardiness zones: 5-9
  • Bee Friendly
  • Attracts Butterflies
  • Deer and Rabbit Resistant
  • Good as dried buds and culinary with a citrusy note to its flavour
    Purple elegance - Hidcote Lavender

    The darkest of lavenders

 

If you are interested in purchasing lavender plants, our plant Sale begins May 1st, 2021.  All varietals are currently available except Hidcote.  Call 519 738-6111 to reserve your plants for curbside pickup.

 

 

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5 Lavender Home Decorating Ideas

There are some many ways to personalize and make your home interior original and fresh.  Certainly,  adding plants to it is one way.  It’s probably the most simple, inexpensive and popular one.  You can easily decorate your home with lavender. Lavender plants have beautiful colours that range from mauve to lavender to royal purple.  But if you don’t have a green thumb thanks to the popularity of Lavender in Provence there are plenty of decor items that feature it.   Here are ten ideas to help you decorate your interior with lavender.

Lavender Decor Item #1

Stylish Home decor

Stylish home decor to suit any taste

This series of  Lavender Design Planters makes a great home for more than just lavender! Crafted out of cement, this waterproof circular planter is accented with raised expressionistic lavender blooms in light purple — an understated compliment to any plant or flowers. Various sizes are available or a collage with the series makes a nice focal centerpiece on a dining room table or side table.

Lavender Decor Item #2

Home Decor - Lavender Canvas Art

Soft hues of purple, grey and cream make this lavender canvas art a romantic addition to the home

Soft hues of purple, grey and cream make this lavender canvas art a romantic addition to the home. This array of lavender artwork gives a room a more refined flair and elegance and lifts the eye upward adding a dimension of  height to your room.

 

Lavender Decor item #3

Cushion with lavender

A contemporary textured lavender themed cushion for your home

 

What a difference a few cushions can make and these lavender cushions are an easy and inexpensive way to liven up a room.  Textured and embellished they add a bit of colour to your room.  So before you get stuck in re-painting, re-carpeting, or replacing your old couch, consider the idea of using a few lavender cushions to spruce up your room.

 

 

Lavender Decor Item #4

A pretty tablecloth changes a room instantly.  It not only adds a pop of  colour but also a romantic charm to your dinner table.  Just add crisp white dinnerware, warm candles a mouthwatering meal and friends.

 

 

Lavender Decor Item #5

Add instant colour to your room with dried lavender

Dried lavender bouquet

Dried lavender in a simple neutral coloured vase can make a wonderful statement in a room.

Add a bit of baby’s breath for an even more stunning bouquet or use a set of 3 vases of different shapes to add a visually appealing composition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We like the simplicity and touch of colour that the lavender adds making it a sleek and elegant addition.

 

So many different ideas to spruce up a home using lavender!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lavender royal purple

A Gardener’s Guide for Growing Lavender

Get ready to plant lavender in your garden this season.

Lavender Garden design time -Garden catalogues

Planning your lavender garden

January is a terrific time to design your landscape, choose the flowers and vegetables that you want to grow this year, order seeds and get leads and information on how to grow your favourite plants. And so, its a  perfect time to share some tips on how to grow lavender.

 

 

 

Lavender angustafolia Hidcote

Hidcote Lavender the deepest purple lavender is ready to bloom

The focus is on Lavandula angustifolia which is commonly known as English lavender.  It comes in assortment of colours from deep purple to lavender and even a blush pink that is so light that you’d swear it looks white in mass plantings.  Lavender with its lovely fragrance is part of the mint family.  It has made a come back in recent years and is now commonly grown in home gardens for it’s beautiful aroma, pretty flowers, culinary and therapeutic benefits – and isn’t it just a romantic plant that takes our stress away?

 

 

Quick Lavender growing tips

This easy-care plant typically enjoys hot, dry conditions, making it suitable for use in a variety of landscape settings and an excellent candidate for beginner gardeners or those who tend to forget to water their gardens.    Once it is established this plant is very forgiving although it is important to keep in mind that lavender is drought tolerant not drought resistant, so in dry years it will still need some TLC.

Stoechas Spanish Lavender

Lavender Stoechas with its pretty butterfly wings in not suitable for overwintering in Ontario lavender gardens

Although Lavender stoechas is readily available at garden centres across Ontario in the springtime.  This  pretty butterfly petalled tenSome der heat loving varietal will not withstand overwintering in Ontario even in the mild winters of Essex County.  It is more adept to the indoors or more the temperate climates of Spain or Texas and can only tolerate winter temperatures around 45 degrees.

 

Keep reading to learn more about lavender plant care.

 

 

 

How to Grow Lavender in the Garden

Lavender coconut ice

Lavender comes in all colours even a blush pink

Lavender seeds are  very slow to germinate and often not successful.  Beginner gardeners are best advised to purchase seedling plants in 4 inch pot.  This is the most reliable way to grow lavender. Growing lavender plants is an easy endeavor provided you give them what they need. Although lavender can tolerate a variety of growing conditions, this plant thrives best under warm, sunny conditions in well-drained soil.

To grow lavender outdoors choose a area that has full sun. If it is planted in partial shade  the plant will reach for the sun and not have any flowers on the shady side.  Sandy loams are ideal.  If you have clay amend the soil by adding sand, vermiculite and some gravel.  Plant the lavender in raised beds or mound the soil.  During the first few weeks pinch the flowers so that the lavender plant puts its energy into growing a healthy root system.  The plant should be watered weekly  and given a light fertilizer feeding for the first 3 months. If it is a dry year then continue watering regularly.

Lavender is native to arid regions, the plant will not tolerate moist or overly wet conditions; therefore,

Colourful lavender plants

The deep rich colour of lavender plants

it’s important to consider location when growing lavender plants, especially in Ontario where we have wet springs and falls. That’s why it’s recommended to mound clay soil to raise the plant so if its a rainy year they don’t get their feet too wet.

Lavender should be located in areas with adequate drainage and spaced far enough apart to ensure good air  circulation. Be sure to clear away leaves or mulch in early spring. This will help reduce the chance of developing root rot.

 

 

Lavender Plant Care

Pretty mounds of lavender

Well pruned lavender

Once established, lavender plants require little care or maintenance. While they should be watered regularly early on, established plants need water in dry years and a bit of fertilizer after blooming. Regular pruning is recommended in the fall time.  Pruning not only keeps lavender plants neat looking in appearance, but also helps to encourage new growth.  Lavender can be cut back  to about a third of the new growth.  Severe pruning is only recommended in years of heavy frost.

 

We’ll share more tips for growing lavender including information about pruning,  harvesting  and varietals we grow in future blog posts.

Lavender royal purple

Lavender bloom at Serenity Lavender 2020

 

 

 

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Chicken Provençal Recipe with Herbes de Provence

We’ve been longing to travel… but that won’t be happening soon   So,  if we can’t travel to Provence at least we can bring that idyllic wine and lavender oasis of France to our dinner table.  And what is more reminiscent of the beautiful region in France than herbes de Provence.

Obviously travelling vicariously is not quite the real thing but, it’ll have to do and what better way to travel than through food.

This week it’s a simple meal:  chicken,  dusted in flour and roasted with shallots, lemons, tomatoes, olives and garlic in a douse of dry red wine (I use the Pinot Noir from our sister company North 42 Degrees Estate Winery https://north42degrees.com/product/pinot-noir-2018-vqa/ ) and a sprinkle of  our own blend of herbes de Provence. https://serenitylavender.com/product/herbs-de-provence/   The chicken pieces crisp up on top, while the shallots and garlic melt into sweetness below. You could serve with rice, mashed potatoes or a simple green salad and a crispy fresh baguette to mop up the sauce.

 

A terrific recipe using local wine and lavender

Chicken Provencal with Herbes de Provence

 

  • 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and/or drumsticks 
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ to ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Serenity Lavender herbes de Provence
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 6 medium-size shallots, peeled and halved
  • 1 pint/2 cups of  cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives
  •  cup dry red Wine
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, for serving

Method

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Rinse the chicken and pat dry with a paper towel to remove any excess moisture; this will ensure the skin gets nice and crispy
  • Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a shallow pan or plate, and lightly dredge the chicken in it, shaking the pieces to remove excess flour.
  • On the stove top in an oven proof skillet heat the olive oil and place the floured dredged chicken skin side down until crispy and golden brown about 6-7 minutes.  Turn the chicken over and cook the other side for about 6-7 minutes.  Sprinkle the chicken with the herbes de Provence.
  • Arrange the lemon, garlic cloves, tomatoes and shallots around the chicken, then add the dry red wine to the pan.
  • Put the pan in the oven, and roast for 10-12 minutes, then baste it with the pan juices (do not skip this step). Continue roasting for another 20minu tes, or until the chicken is very crisp and the meat cooked through.
  • Serve in the pan or on a warmed platter, garnished with fresh thyme sprigs.

 

Serve with mashed potatoes, rice or crisp baguette.

Bon Appetit!

 

 

 

 

 

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Spruce up your Home decor with Lavender

You know what they say- new year, new home decor. With the beginning of each new year, January encourages everybody to hit the reset button – make some resolutions, hit the gym, find  a new mantra or start a new project.  In the spirit of that trend  comes the instinct to freshen up our home.

Once the Christmas decorations have come down, your interior can suddenly feel quite bare and unadorned.  While January is a perfect time to declutter.  It can also be a time to update your home with a few key pieces.  No one has the budget to redo their home year after year to meet the current trends and colours. But, one of the easiest ways to make a change is to find a new unique accent piece for your table like a vase or sculpture.

We absolutely adore this funky sculpted vase that is handmade at Hillborn pottery in Cambridge Ontario and is available for purchase at Serenity Lavender Farm.  This fashionable vase can hold water and is suitable for fresh or dry flowers…. like lavender. We of course love, love love  the periwinkle colour and blue accents. It is a perfect statement piece to perk up a room in shades of grey, cream, beige or white.

Purple pottery vase by Hilborn . The perfect statement piece for your home

Artisan pottery by Hillborn brings a winter wonderland to your home

Another cool piece or rather pieces for winter is this winter wonderland… you can keep a bit of the holiday season in your home  all winter long and brighten up any space with it’s vibrant colours reminiscent of the northern lights in Northern Ontario.  These pieces are again from our friends at Hilborn Pottery and available at Serenity Lavender.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dried lavender for your home

Imagine the calming scent of lavender in your home

Simplicity is sometimes best and after indulging over the holidays we are partial to this DIY idea.  All you need is a metal tray.  Spray paint it to suit your taste- pewter would be fantastic. Then find 3 glass vases even from Dollarama or mason jars and add some dried lavender – available at Serenity Lavender.  You can even add some ribbon but we like the unadorned elegance of this centrepiece and so simple to make yourself.

 

 

 

There is plenty of inspiration around  us to refresh your home decor.   Check out our shop or some of the websites or instagram pages of some your favourite local  shops.  Support local and small business!

 

 

 

 

 

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Lavender Rubbed Lamb Chops with Arugula Salad

This time of year there is a lot of entertaining going on in our neighbourhood with house parties abound.  The food is just as diverse are our friends who are hosting these little soirees from wine and cheese  minglers to  the causal elegance of a sit down dinner.

If you are hosting a party this season we have a perfect recipe that gives a tender juicy lamb loin or rib chop a bit of zing in the flavour department using locally grown lavender. The aromatic rub of lavender and orange zest is an ideal flavour combination to make any cut of lamb a herbal fragrant note that is reminiscent of the southern coast of France.

Served with a lovely fall salad of arugula or other bitter greens and tossed with roasted hazelnuts and pomegranate seeds.  The pomegranate seeds are delightfully sweet and crunchy. The bright red colour and burst of flavour is one of our favourite additions to any salad this time of year, not just this one.

Ingredients

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 Tablespoon minced shallot

1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest

1 teaspoon Serenity Lavender’s dried culinary lavender buds

Pinch of sea salt

Pinch of freshly ground black peppercorns

8 double cut lamb chops (about 450 grams each)

 

Method

In a bowl, blend the olive oil with the shallot orange zest, lavender, salt and pepper.  Rub the mixture all over the lamb chops ad transfer them onto a broiling pan or metal rack set on a baking sheet.  Let the chops rest in the fridge for  2 -3 hours

Preheat the broiler and position a rack 8-10 inches from the heat. Broil the chops for about 20 minutes, turning occasionally until the temperature reads 140 degrees F.

 

Salad

Ingredients

1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a large lemon)

1 teaspoon finely grated fresh lemon zest

400 grams of arugula

1/2 cup of roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup of pomegranate seeds

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

Place the arugula in a large bowl.  Add the remainder of the ingredients into a small round covered plastic container.  Shake well until the oil and lemon juice are blended.  Pour over the lettuce, toss and serve with the lamb chops.

Enjoy!

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Lavender Honey-What’s the Buzz?

Our bees have been busy this year and we have once again we have lavender honey!

What’s the buzz? A worker bee gathers in her entire life 0.8 gram (0.0288 ounce) of honey and it requires 556 worker bees  and a million flowers to gather a pound of honey.  Bees normally fly once around the world to gather enough nectar for that pound of honey but we make it a bit easier for them by placing our hives in our lavender production field. Still, that’s a lot of flowers.

Bees at work at Serenity Lavender

Raw honey has been used as a folk remedy throughout history. But those old wives tales are true and honey has a variety of health benefits and medical uses. It’s chocked full of antioxidants, is heart healthy and tastes delicious too!

The bees arrived back on our property on June 7th and we have 8 hives this year.  The bees were very busy with 2 blooms this summer and our first batch of honey was extracted on July 21st.

Taste the pure goodness of raw lavender honey

 

 

 

Lavender honey in the making

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sooooo golden in colour and the delicate floral scent of lavender flows through this pleasant, well balanced and rounded honey.

 

 

100% natural lavender honey

Our bees make terrific lavender honey – not infused

 

 

Lavender honey comb

 

 

And we just stocked our shelves with some gorgeous honeycomb.  Eating honeycomb is one way to enjoy the full fruits of our bees’ labour.  To produce one pound of wax the bees consume 6-8 lbs of honey.  The wax is edible and honeycomb contains not just honey but also pollen and sometimes royal jelly. It’s the perfect addition to a bowl of oatmeal in the morning and you’ll find it on our charcuterie boards at the Bistro 42.

We’ll be saying goodbye to our bees soon as the evenings cool but we thought we’d share this old family recipe as our bee season winds down and they go into hibernation.

Polish Honey Spice Cookies (Pierniczki)

Ingredients

1 c sugar

¼ c  water

 

1 c honey

2 tsp allspice

1 tsp cinnamon

½ tsp cloves

½ tsp nutmeg

4 tsp butter

 

4 c flour

1 whole egg plus 1 egg yolk

2 tsp baking soda

1/3 cup warm water

Icing

1 c confectioner’s sugar

1-2 Tbsp water depending on the thickness of the icing you want (glazed or piped)

½ teaspoon almond or peppermint extract

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a saucepan measure out 2 Tbsp of sugar and ¼ cup of water stir until dissolved  and carmelize over gentle heat stirring until it begins to turn a golden brown colour.  Add the remaining sugar, honey, spices and butter.  Stir continuously until the mixture begins to boil.  Remove from the stovetop and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl beat the egg and mix in the flour, baking soda and water.  Blend in the sugar add spice mixture .  Knead the dough until smooth. Cover the  bowl with a towel and let it rest  20 minutes.

On a flour dusted countertop roll out the dough into a rectangle.  Cut the dough into shapes using your favourite cookie cutters and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.  Bake 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Let cookies cool. Ice the cookies.

Smacznego!

 

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We are open this winter!

Serenity Lavender is open year round for your shopping convenience. Come by on these cold days of winter and find soothing lavender teas and body products to pamper your mind and body. We also carry great gift ideas for the home.

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