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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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It’s Peach Season in Windsor Essex

This time of year brings me back to my grandmother’s orchard with its wonderful fruit selection – plums, pears, peaches, and apples.  My all time favourite were the wonderfully ripe peaches.  They were so fragrant and succulent that the juices ran all over with just one bite.  I can still smell the aromas just thinking about my childhood.

In days gone by we had many peach orchards in beautiful Essex County.  We even celebrated peaches in our little town of Harrow with a festival and the crowning of the Peach Queen. The Harrow Research Station developed a number of peach varieties such as the Harrow Beauty and Harrow Diamond  Peach.  Today, you can still find fresh peaches at our neighbour’s Leslie and Doug of the Fruit Wagon and Maria’s on Ridge Road.

So today in celebration of the long weekend and fresh Essex County peaches I thought I’d share a lovely adult beverage recipe that incorporates my favourite herb- lavender and of course those luscious peaches.

Lavender Peach Bellini

Ingredients 
2 ripe large peaches, peeled, halved and stone removed

1/4 cup of sugar

1/4 cup of water

1 teaspoon Serenity Lavender’s culinary lavender

750 ml bottle of North 42 Degrees Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, chilled

Fresh lavender sprigs to garnish

Method
Add water into a small pot.  Bring to a boil add sugar stir until completely dissolved.  Take off the heat and add 1 teaspoon of Serenity Lavender’s culinary lavender.  Put the lid on the pot and steep for about 20 minutes.  Strain the lavender and put the lavender simple syrup mixture into the fridge until cooled completely.

Blend the peaches in a blender until smooth. Place 1 tablespoon of peach puree into a glass add 1 tablespoon of lavender simple syrup  and top with chilled sparkling wine.

Decorate each glass with a lavender sprig and serve straight away!

Cheers!!

Chefs Tip:
Use 1 parts puree to 4 parts sparkling wine. Good quality peach juice can be used as a substitute.

Serves 6

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8 Ways Lavender Can Beat Winter Woes

Winter is here! And alongside winter fun come the challenges of the season, including dry skin, chapped lips, and keeping your house feeling spring fresh. Here are a few tips and tricks for meeting winter’s challenges head on so you can enjoy beauty of the season.

  1. Improve Sleep: A good night’s sleep is important, and Lavender helps to naturally relax the body and mind to encourage a restful sleep:
    1. Linen Spray – lightly mist sheets and pillows with Serenity Lavender Farm Linen Spray. You can spray your sheets when you turn the bed down at night, or in the morning while making the bed.
    2. Sachet – Tuck a sachet under the pillow when you make your bed. Flip your pillow over as you go to bed for a gentle scent of lavender.
    3. Essential Oil – lightly dab Serenity Lavender Farm Essential Oil behind your ears or on the bottoms of your feet.
    4. Diffuser – Serenity Lavender Farm Lavender Diffuser will gently release its scent through natural reed diffuser sticks
  2. Treat your Feet: Feet can take a beating in the winter and should receive some extra TLC.
    1. Foot Bath – add a few drops of Serenity Lavender Farm Essential Oil to a warm foot bath to relax and relieve stress.
    2. Foot Cream – mix a several drops of Serenity Lavender Farm Essential Oil to Coconut Oil. Spread on dry, cracked feet then put on a pair of socks before going to bed.
  3. Nosebleeds: The dry air can irritate the skin in our nasal passages and nosebleeds can result. To stop a nosebleed, put a drop of Serenity Lavender Oil on a tissue and wrap it around a small chip of ice. Place the wrapped ice against the base of the nose above the top lip and hold it there until the bleeding stops or as long as comfortable. Do not freeze your lip or gum.
  4. Relief for Eczema: Cold weather can exacerbate eczema and dermatitis. Add a few drops of Serenity Lavender Farm Essential Oil to coconut oil and use topically.
  5. Spring Clean: Bring the fresh feel of spring into your home! Combine water with white vinegar and a few drops of Serenity Lavender Farm Essential Oil to wash floors, mirrors, glass, and any hard surface. This DIY cleaner is environmentally friendly and child/pet safe. [Note: do not mix vinegar with chlorine products.]
  6. Cold Sore Relief: place a drop of Serenity Lavender Farm Essential Oil on a cold sore for pain relief and to speed healing. Lavender is a natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Try it on dry, cracked lips for fast relief.
  7. Freshen Bathrooms: place a drop or two of Serenity Lavender Farm Essential Oil on the cardboard core of toilet paper when restocking the bathroom. Alternately, you can also spritz the inside of the roll with Serenity Lavender Farm Linen Spray. Each time paper is taken from the roll it will release the fresh scent of lavender.
  8. Cold/Sinus Relief: Lavender can bring quick relief from colds and sinus infections.
    1. Add a few drops of Serenity Lavender Farm Essential Oil to boiling water and inhale the steam to open nasal passages, relieve coughing and throat irritation, and naturally aid in treating sinus infections.
    2. Rub a drop of Serenity Lavender Farm Essential Oil near nasal passages, on the back of the neck, at the temple, and on the forehead—avoiding the eyes—for relief from sinus pressure and inflammation.
    3. Put a pinch of Serenity Lavender Farm Culinary Lavender in your tea, or brew a cup of one of Serenity Lavender Farm’s specialty teas to aid in sleeping and bring relief to irritated throats.

A little lavender goes a long way
to brighten your winter, naturally!

 

This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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A perfect day for a cup of tea!

A perfect day for a cup of tea…. we’re tasting some new teas and can’t wait to share our new releases with you! Of course they are all blended with our own lavender grown locally at Serenity Lavender Farm. The flavours of our culinary lavender varieties are matched to enhance the flavours of the tea.  We grow a number of varietals that are unique to Ontario and Canada.   So,  coconut ice with it’s spearmint flavours and aromas are a perfect match to our Spearmint tea, which incidently is a great tea to help with digestion. All of teas are fair trade and where possible organically grown.  We are always looking for recommendations.

So,what’s your favourite tea?

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Serenity Lavender………….Inspirational

cleopatra1We had the pleasure last summer of a visit from The Great Canadian Adventure Tour.  We were not only thrilled to host them but we really had a blast showing them around the farm and being a part of the filming. Thanks guys for making us a stop!

Lavender is perhaps nature’s most alluring herb. It has been said to be the herb of love.  The Queen of Egypt, Cleopatra, certainly knew this! It’s said that she used it to capture the heart of not only Julius Ceasar but Mark Antony as well.  Egyptians used lavender not only as a perfume  added to their waters and baths but also for embalming their dead. They knew that essential oils beautify the inside of you body as well  as the outside.

We introduced the Tour to the many uses of lavender – from culinary to aromatherapy.  556

It looks like we got 2 thumbs up as a place to visit.  As they put it “its a uniquely tranquil destination experience”, but take a look for yourself!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HWV6lSRFJxg

 

 

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Victorian High Tea

Come  to Serenity Lavender wearing your finest hats and gloves on Saturday, June 23rd  from 1-3pm to Serenity Lavender’s Victorian High Tea. Enjoy a delectable array of finger sandwiches, scones, deserts and or course our teas amidst the sereneness of teh lavender blooms.  Tickets are $25.00 per person. Seating is limited so call today to reserve your tickets.  519 980-4504 Visa and Mastercard accepted

 

MENU 

Fresh Sandwiches

Cucumber Mint

Goat Cheese and Roasted Red Pepper Pinwheel

Ham and Pickle

Lavender Onion Tartlet

Home Baked English Scones

  Served with clotted crème, lavender jelly and raspberry lavender jam

Selection of Petit Fours

Choice of Serenity Lavender Teas

Lavender, Lavender Earl Grey, Lavender Green Tea,  Provence Rooibos

Lavender Tea

Victorian High Tea at Serenity Lavender

 

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Lavender chocolate fondue

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6 oz /175g bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 oz/ 125 g milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup / 175 ml whipping cream
2 teaspoons culinary lavender

Place chocolate in fondue pot. Heat cream add lavender and steep 20 minutes. Return to stove and heat until boiling. Quickly strain lavender from the creamand pour over chocolate. Whisk until melted. Set over warmer.

Serve with seasonal fresh fruit.

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12 Wedding Trends for 2012

We had to share this with wedding season around the corner. Don’t forget that Serenity Lavender has lots of purple bonbonniere ideas for brides at reasonable prices.

by Cara Davis

Economic woes continue to play a part in today’s weddings. Couples are opting for smaller weddings and choosing to spend their money more wisely. According to a recent study from TheWeddingReport.com, brides and grooms are paying for more of the wedding bill themselves (to the tune of $10,000 – $20,000 US), and they’re having more fun with it.

The report concluded that more couples are moving away from formal and traditional weddings to fun, romantic, simple, casual and unique weddings with a touch of formality and tradition.

Here are some more trends forecasted for 2012:

1. It’s a Small World
Couples are keeping a tight rein on guest numbers (under 150), as the overall cost of the wedding is directly affected by how many heads are in attendance.

2. Autumn Leads
While June is the reigning month for marriages, September is a close second and other months, including August and October are on the rise.

3. Rustic and Vintage Themes
Rustic themes and vintage touches continue to trend, including weddings held in barns and receptions at local farmer’s markets.

4. DIY Reigns
Brides are discovering they can create many of their wedding favours and décor – flowers, invitations and even the cake.

5. Tech Love
Today’s brides (96 per cent of them according to www.weddingwire.com) are planning, shopping and registering online and even incorporating technology into the wedding day itself. Online blogs are providing the inspiration brides are looking for to piece together their day.

6. Sweet Endings
Dessert buffets continue to take a bite out of receptions, with non-traditional choices like square mini-cakes and cupcake tiers or pies, macaroons, Whoopie Pies, cake pops, colour-coordinated candy and even ice cream sundae stations or a cookies and milk bar. The dessert choices reflect the whimsical, fun nature of today’s weddings.

7. Colour Me Vibrant
Some of the biggest colors this year are purples and green as well as jewel tones, according to TheWeddingReport.com.

8. Casually Groomed
Much to the relief of grooms everywhere, tuxedo rentals are out and suits and casual wear are in. TheWeddingReport.com states demand for tuxedo rental is down 11 per cent over 2010 numbers.

9. Candid Cameras
Formal photos are out and candid shots are in that fit with the look and feel of the wedding day. Demand for photo booths continues to rise as a fun way to capture memories.

10. Non-traditional Gifts
Non-traditional gift registries like CardAvenue.com are popping up, allowing couples to register for gift cards according to their tastes and needs, as research shows that couples are waiting longer to get married (brides are 27 on average, grooms 29).

11. Close To Home
TheWeddingReport.com predicts destination weddings will decline or remain flat in 2012 as couples are sticking close to home for the wedding day. They’re also choosing more outdoor and/or all-inclusive locations to simplify their weddings and save money.

12. Staying Put
Not only are couples staying close to home, they’re opting to host the ceremony and reception in the same location – again, to save money and simplify.

Cara Davis is the author of Cheap Ways to Tie the Knot and a blogger for CheapWaysTo.com.

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Lavender Scented Baked Apples

These lavender spiced baked apples are the perfect ending to any meal.

Yield: 6 servings

6 medium baking apples (about 2 pounds),
such as Gala or MacIntosh
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tablespoon water
1 teaspoon lavender

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Core apples; peel a strip from the top of each. If necessary cut thin
slice from bottom of each apple so apple will stand upright. Place
apples upright in greased 11 x 7-inch baking dish.

In medium-size bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, vanilla and
lavender pour into and around apples.

Set dish in a 13 x 9-inch pan. Set on oven rack. Carefully pour boiling
water into pan to 1-inch depth. Bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples
are tender, occasionally spooning sweetened condensed milk mixture in
bottom of dish over apples.

Serve warm

TIP If you don’t have sweetened condensed milk substitute a 1/4 cup of Lavender sugar or Lavender Vanilla Bean sugar in your regular baked apple recipe!

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Avocado Lavender Dip


Last minute preparations for Super Bowl Sunday and of course I had to include lavender in something. So here’s my a quick creation:

2 ripe firm avocados mashed
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp Serenity culinary lavender crushed with a mortar and pestle
1 small Leamington greenhouse tomato chopped
1/8 cup black bean and corn salsa
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 small onion
pinch of ground pepper
dash of hot sauce ( I used our homemade habenaro paste made from our garden grown peppers but use whatever you like)

Mix together and serve with nachos.

 

Photo by Steven Depolo

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