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Volunteer Blog: Lavandula Heaven

Luciana Skidmore, Volunteer , 26 September 2019

August is the most fragrant month here in St. Fagans gardens as we just finished trimming back and harvesting our lavender shrubs. We prune them at this time of the year to remove old flowers and give them a chance to grow new foliage before the Autumn/Winter months.

A well known favourite the lavender has a unique and distinguishable fragrance that is grown for ornamental, aromatic, medicinal and culinary purposes. They are sun loving plants and require a well drained soil.

Lavender is such a versatile plant suiting different garden styles and pleasing the most varied tastes. In St. Fagans you can find hundreds of plants of different species. You will see them in our herb garden, surrounding the fountain in the Dutch Garden, dotted amongst perennials in flower borders, as lavender hedges by the greenhouse and  complimenting the romantic style of the Rosery. A true aromatic heaven!

Lavandula is a genus of 47 known species, here you can find the well known Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’, the beautiful white flowers of the Lavandula x intermedia ‘Edelweiss’ and one of my favourites the Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’. This particular species is a hybrid cross between the Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender) and the Lavandula latifolia (Portuguese lavender). They are larger, more robust and have longer stalks with bluish purple flower heads making them perfect for cut flowers.

Lavender is also a wonderful culinary ingredient. Most varieties can be used in cooking, however the Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’ is more widely used. They taste great in cakes, scones, jams and as a tea. Add 1 tsp. of dried lavender flowers to a cup of water, let it steep for 10 minutes and enjoy! It’s perfect for calming the mind and helping you drift into dreamland.

When harvested most of our flowers are dried in our potting shed and used to create lavender bags, beautiful dried flower arrangements and other products that can be seasonally found in the Museum store. We also use them in our historic buildings as decoration and inside mattresses to repel insects as they would have done years ago.


7 November 2019, 15:10
Thank you Gwen for this lovely recipe of lemon and lavender shortbread. It must be delicious! I will definitely give it a try.
Gwen Williams
9 October 2019, 15:08
One of my favourite plants too Luciana not just for it's perfume but also for the profusion of bees it brings to our garden. I also love the Hidcote variety that you mention which also reminds me of Hidcote Manor Gardens - a National Trust property near Chipping Camden in Gloucestershire which the Friends of the Museum visited some years ago. I believe that's where the variety originated. Well worth a visit.

You spoke about cooking with lavender so perhaps your readers might like to try the following recipe for lemon and lavender shortbread.
450 g butter
1 cup sugar
4 cup white flour (I often use 3 1/2 cups white flour plus some seedy flour for the remainder)
1 & 1/2 tablespoon dried lavender flowers
Zest of one lemon
Juice of half a lemon
Cream butter & sugar till fluffy
Add zest and juice of lemon
Add flour and mix to a soft dough it always feels to me like too much flour but it is not
Add lavender
Roll into logs (diameter is your choice) - and chill for an hour or for days
Slice into to desired thickness
Bake at 180 c for 8 to 12 minutes depending on thickness
Sprinkle a little lavender infused sugar on top of each biscuit as they go into the oven.

Well worth it I can assure you
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