Saturday 17 October 2015

The Usual and the Not So Usual .......

I've loved lavender for years which will come as no surprise to those of you who know that I used to have a shop specialising in Lavender products and then a Farmers Market stall selling more of the same.  Each and every year various lavenders come into bloom in my garden .... although now they are all mine and I don't have to sell them to anyone else.  I love it, the bees love it, well there's nothing not to love is there, it's beneficial to health, it's tasty in small doses, and it simply smells divine.

In fact I probably will go back to selling it again in the future when all this years plantings have gotten bigger and can be divided and cuttings taken.  It could prove to be a nice little sideline for either our farm gate sales or at car boots sales in the future, we are permanently on the lookout for income streams, and surplus sowings and cuttings from existing plants are going to be one of mine.

So that's the 'usual'of the title .... what's the 'not so usual' I hear to ask .....

... it's this weird and wonderful thing!!

You might just be able to make it out on this photo taken last year, it's in the same spot on the front step.  It started out as such an innocuous little plant, all frosted greenery ...  

... with nothing to suggest it was going to grow to over eight foot tall with it's weird and wonderful flower spikes.

Seemingly it's a Verbascum!!

It's also another plant that the bees have absolutely loved this year.

Until last week the lavender in the pots and the Verbascum were still getting little visitors, although I think it's too cold now to expect to any more of our little furry striped friends.

Sue xx


  1. I love lavender too, so much so that I bought a bottle of lavender syrup. Now I have no idea what to do with it. Any suggestions?
    ps love the blog

    1. It would be wonderful on Icecream, used to make icing to decorate a cake or simply added to sparkling water for a refreshing non-alcoholic drink. Whatever you do use it sparingly as it can be powerful stuff, and what tastes nice in small amounts becomes overly 'soapy and perfumey' in larger doses.

      To make your own lavender syrup (and save an expensive purchase next time) simply make a sugar syrup (equal parts sugar to water) and bring slowly to a fast simmer with a couple of tablespoons of lavender buds (just before the flower opens). Once simmerred for about 10 minutes leave to stand for a while and then strain through muslin. Store in a bottle in the fridge and use within a month, or freeze in ice cube trays to add to drinks whenever you want a bit of extra flavour to your drinks, they're wonderful in a good quality lemonade, either homemade or bought.

      Thanks for loving the blog :-)

  2. I only knew Verbascum by its common name of Mullein. It grows wild in the mid-Atlantic regions of the US. A quick online search showed that a tea made of either the leaves or the flowers is used in herbal medicine for respiratory ailments. I loved this post: entertaining and educational.

  3. I have three large lavender plants in my garden. Some years ago I was taught how to make lavender wands on a day out at the Eden Project. I find it very relaxing to do. X

  4. I have plans to line my garden path with lavender either side so it brushes against our legs as we walk

  5. I really love lavender but I struggle to grow it here. I buy a nice pretty plant in a pot and eventually it dies. It could be the climate, but I think it is probably me!

    Your plants are doing really well. I have not heard of Verbascum before. It certainly has grown high!


  6. You could start a new trend.. verbascums round the door!
    Yes, it's a lot less buzzy here today. Even the gardener has retreated back into the warm.

  7. I have two.tiny lavender plants in my front garden. They survived last winter and have grown a fair amount this summer. I'm hoping for my first few flowers next year x x

  8. I have Mullein in my garden too, and agree with you how the bees love it. Unfortunately so do the Mullein Moth caterpillars although mine didn't get so badly zapped this year. The yellow version grows in the wild too.

    The recipe for Lavender Syrup will come in handy if my plants grow enough to supply me!

  9. I love lavender, I hope one day to have a border full of it. Come summer we sometimes visit the Cotswold lavender farm and it's so beautiful.

  10. I'm curious what will you do with the lavender? Just sell it as flower or will you make it into something else? I'm after a lavender to replace the chrysanthemum that has grown the size of a house but not produced one flower. Really disappointed with it.

  11. Love lavender and the Verbascum phlomoides. In my language (Flemish) it's called 'keizerskaars' or 'keizerstoorts' which means emperor's torch or candle.It is biannual and I've had a few in my gardens over the years.

  12. How bizarre that Scotland this past week was full of butterflies and a few bees! The weather was crazy bright, very warm under clear skies.

  13. Very cool. I have a friend who has a son, who wants her mom to plant and sell lavendar. I've never grown in myself, but I do stop and smell it when I pass them by. Lovely.

  14. I absolutely love lavender but, sadly, it doesn't grow here in Alberta which is only zone 3. My sister lives one province over in British Columbia and they have lavender farms there as it is zone 7. I still have a little sprig of lavender wrapped in saran wrap that my grandmother sent to me from England in 1967!!


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