Welcome to Washington Lavender
"Something sweet and sacred there is in these treasured family collections, and, as they are opened for us, we catch a whiff of lavender and rose leaves from Mrs. Washington’s dainty linen closets.” --from “Martha Washington” by Anne Hollingsworth Wharton
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Queen Victoria made extensive use of lavender throughout Buckingham Palace.
In the United States and Canada, the Shakers were the first to grow lavender commercially. As a strict sect of English Quakers, they produced their own herbs and medicines and sold them to the "outside world." Later a New York advertising firm picked them up and sold the simple products worldwide.
Lavender is a unique fragrance produced by the combination of 180 different constituents and is widely used in the perfume industry to add a top or middle note to commercial products. In the world of professional sniffers, it has a green, hay-like sweetness and gives "fruity aspects" to perfumes and other scented products.
English lavender yields a highly effective essential oil with very sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, perfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. French lavender yields a similar essential oil, but with higher levels of terpenes including camphor, which add a sharper overtone to the fragrance. Spanish lavender is mainly used for landscaping purposes.
Harvested lavender drying in the basement of the inn
Lavenders are widely grown in gardens. Flower spikes are used for dried flower arrangements. The fragrant purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris. Dried and sealed in pouches, they are placed among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and as a deterrent to moths. The plant is also grown commercially for extraction of lavender oil from the flowers. This oil is often used for aromatherapy.
Essential oil of lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. It saw wide usage in hospitals during World War I, both as a healing agent and as a disinfectant. Lavender extracts are commonly used in fragrances for bath products today. Bunches of lavender repel insects. An infusion of lavender can also soothe and heal insect bites. If applied to the temples in a very small amount, lavender oil can soothe headaches. Lavender is also frequently used as an aid to sleep and relaxation. Seeds and flowers of the plant are added to pillows, and an infusion of three flower heads added to a cup of boiling water is recommended as a soothing and relaxing bedtime drink. Lavender water can also heal acne. It is also used in the treatment of skin burns and inflammatory conditions. Ingesting lavender should be avoided during pregnancy and breastfeeding, however. This incredible lavender oil is considered to be the most versatile of all essential oils. (Sources: Wikipedia, Lavender by Elen Spector Platt and Lavender: Practical Inspirations by Tess Evelegh.)
America's "purple mountain majesties" and a lavender field
Shades of purple, an array of hues are found in lavender flowers
Lavender is a member of the “purple” family which is the color of royalty. No wonder it was so popular with the kings and queens of Europe.
Purple is also the color of our country’s regal mountains which were aptly penned in “
O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
Biblical references to lavender (known as "spikenard" in biblical times, from the Greek name for lavender, naardus, after the Syrian city Naarda).
While the king sitteth at his table, my spikenard sendeth forth the smell thereof. Song of Solomon 1:12
A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse: a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits: camphire, with spikenard, spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all the chief spices: a fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon. Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits. Song of Solomon 4:12-16
Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odour of the ointment. Then saith one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon's son, which should betray him. "Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?" This he said not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief, and had the bag, and bare what was put therein. John 12:3*
*One other reference includes Mark 14:3 (similar to John 12:3).
Lavender plants in a field at George Washington Inn and Estate
Come visit Washington Lavender at George Washington Inn & Estate. Savor a relaxing retreat
while enhancing your senses in fields of lavender, surrounded by a panorama of unparalled views.
~ MARTHA WASHINGTON'S LAVENDER SHORTBREAD BISCUITS ~
Cream butter and sugar; add egg. Mix in salt, baking powder, lavender and flour. Form dough into an 8-inch-long round or square log; wrap tightly in plastic and chill until firm. Cut dough into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Dip edges in coarse sugar and transfer to parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until light golden brown around the edges.
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