Little Lavenders in the Landscape
Pink flowers: Chelsea Pink, Lady Ann (featured lavender), Little Lottie
White flowers: White Dwarf
Flower Color: Light Pink
Stem Length: 6-8 inches
Plant Height: 12-15 inches
This compact, dwarf lavender can be grown alone in a large pot or barrel or planted as a low border in the garden. It is the smallest of the pink flowering L. Angustifolia cultivars. The plant forms a gray-green mound and produces many stems with green-pink tinged buds and flowers that open to dusky pink blooms in late June.
The dried, sweetly scented buds can be used in foods and beverages as culinary lavender or to fill sachets. The small shrub adds a nice contrast in the landscape when it is planted in front of other dark flowering lavenders and perennials in the garden.
This lavender occurred as a chance seedling. It was introduced in 2001 in the UK by R. Delamore Ltd of Wisbech. It was named after Ann Wood, the wife of the managing director.
(photo credit: Lavender World, UK)
Flower Color: Violet-Blue
Stem Length: 8-10 inches
Plant Height: 18-20 inches
This lavender forms a dense gray-green mound. It can be planted in the landscape to make a nice compact border in the garden or alone in a large pot or barrel. The violet-blue flowers start blooming in late June and have a strong lavender scent.
The buds can be dried and used as culinary lavender to flavor foods and beverages or to make fragrant sachet bags.
This cultivar was micro propagated by Muntons Microplants of Stowmarket, Suffolk, UK in 1994. When they released the plant on the market under another name, they discovered it was misidentified. They renamed this unique cultivar ‘Cedar Blue’ in 1995.
Make your own Herbes de Provence
Herbes de Provence is a traditional seasoning widely used in Mediterranean cooking. Use it to season lamb or poultry, in soups and stews, in a honey glaze for pork or roasted turkey, in egg dishes, and with roasted onions, garlic, and other root vegetables. It’s especially good sprinkled on roasted potatoes.
Note: Use organic, dried herbs.
* 1/4 cup thyme leaves
* 1/4 cup savory leaves
* 3 tablespoons basil leaves
* 2 tablespoons crushed bay leaves
* 2 tablespoons crushed rosemary leaves
* 1 tablespoon crushed culinary lavender buds
1. Mix the whole dried herb leaves and buds together and store in an airtight glass or stainless jar in a cool, dark place.
2. Just before using, crush herbs and add a small amount to season foods.
Lavender Dream Pillow
The scent of lavender can be very relaxing, so a lavender dream pillow is a great way to bring the scent of lavender with you as you prepare for a good night’s sleep. And they are easy to make, too!
Education Corner: Summary of Recent Study on the Effects of Linalool
Dr. Michael Lemmers, RavenCroft
TITLE OF PAPER: Linalool Odor-Induced Anxiolytic Effects in Mice.
AUTHORS: H. Harada, H. Kashiwadani, Y. Kanmura, T. Kuwaki / Kagoshima; University (Japan), Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, Depts. of Physiology & Anesthesiology.
FUNDING: Grant from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science.
PUBLICATION: Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, October 2018.
Peer-reviewed and edited (English language).
1. Lavandula species produce the aroma chemical linalool in abundant quantities as a primary component of their essential oils. L. angustifolia cultivars tend to boast higher levels than most L. x intermedia cultivars.
2. Lavender has a long-standing reputation in folk-medicine for desirable effects on human stress and anxiety, sleep disorders, and other conditions calling for relaxation.
3. The neurochemical mechanisms causing specific central nervous system inhibitory effects (related to anxiety relief) are similar in mice and humans.
WHAT DID THE AUTHORS DO?
1. Exposed lab mice for 30 minutes to varying amounts of linalool in the air they breathed, using a zero-linalool control.
2. Immediately observed and measured anxiety-provoking behaviors of the mice in light/dark box testing and in the elevated plus maze.
3. Challenged the mice on the accelerating rotarod to check for adverse effects of linalool exposure on their motor coordination and balance.
4. Blocked the olfactory mechanism of some mice before exposure to linalool.
5. Pre-treated some mice with a known blocker of a specific neuroreceptor complex known to participate in the action of benzodiazepine drugs like diazepam (Valium).
WHAT WERE THE FINDINGS?
1. Mice exposed to moderate levels of linalool demonstrated more anxiety-related behaviors by venturing more often and for longer periods into the exposed lighted box or onto the elevated unprotected arms of the plus maze, similar to mice treated with diazepam (Valium).
2. Unlike diazepam (Valium), exposure of mice to linalool did not adversely affect their motor coordination and balance.
3. Blocking the olfactory mechanism eliminated the effects of linalool.
4. Pre-treating mice with a benzodiazepine blocker eliminated the effects of linalool.
CONCLUSIONS AND EXTRAPOLATIONS:
Olfactory exposure to linalool causes changes in neurochemical messaging from the olfactory centers to other areas in the brain where GABAminergic transmission is enhanced, resulting in greater inhibition of nerve firing. The behavioral correlates include lessening of anxiety without impairment of motor coordination.
While studies like this one advance our understanding of why an ancient observation of stress-reducing effects of lavender may well have a solid neurochemical basis, they must be interpreted within the framework of their limitations. The most obvious confounding factor pertains to the use of a single aroma chemical, linalool, rather than the complex mixtures of chemicals that constitute lavender essential oils. No scientist will rush to perform controlled neurochemical experiments using highly variable mixtures of hundreds of chemicals as their active agent.
While we, as lavender growers and lavender product sellers are eager to make bold assertions intended to compel more buying behavior from our customers, we must guard against quasi-scientific claims that could easily come back to haunt us. With regard to Lavandula and linalool, a statement like this may be sufficiently suggestive, yet safe:
“The essential oils in lavender contain a large component fraction of linalool that has been shown to reduce anxiety in an experimental mouse model. Inhaling it may help reduce your level of anxiety.”
The new Oregon Lavender Association Destinations Guide is now available for download, with hard copies coming soon to local farms, shops, and other fine establishments! Because lavender blooms at different times throughout the summer, this year’s guide focuses more on the whole lavender season rather than just one week, providing a list of the farms that will be open, along with events and festivals throughout the season.