Archive for February, 2010

Lavender Seeds, Leaves and Books

February 21, 2010

Lavender Seeds
A few weeks ago I started two varieties of lavender seeds: L. angustifolia ‘Lady’ and L. angustifolia ‘French Perfume’. ‘Lady’ appeared first, just 14 days after planting and seedlings are still appearing. Nearly a week later, ‘French Perfume’ seedlings appeared. I had put the pots in plastic bags while the seeds sprouted, but now the bags have been opened. They are on a south facing windowsill, but they are a little leggy as we haven’t had the bright sunny days we usually have during the winter. In fact it has been quite dull. I’ll move them to under artificial lights if this continues, but I have to be careful to check them twice a day or they can dry out so quickly. We also have not have very much snow this winter and I’m hoping the lavender plants in the garden will be alright. They have not had the usual protection of snow, but then we have not had a lot of temperature fluctuations either. I guess I’ll know in May.

Lavender Leaves.
Last Wednesday night the Toronto Botanical Gardens hosted British author Matthew Wilson. His recent book, New Gardening, How to Garden in a Changing Climate was the focus of his talk. He mentioned plants that are suitable for hot dry conditions and of course lavender was one. Plants with silvery-grey foliage reflect sun, rather than absorb the heat. The leaves of many lavenders are more up-right, exposing less surface to evaporation. What a clever plant lavender is!

Lavender Book
South of London, Ontario Canada (about 2 1/2 hours from where I live) is a delightful lavender farm called Lavender Blue. They have a beautiful lavender garden and a shop that carries lavender delights for all the senses – from sachets and soaps to lavender jellies. They also carry my book – Growing Lavender, A guide for cooler climates. They will have a booth at the Stratford Garden Festival, March 4 – 7 2010.
This site for the farm is: www.lavenderblue.ca
The site for the garden show is: www.stratfordgardenfestival.com

If you would like information about my book, you can find it at my website www.growing-lavender.com

All for now.

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Lavender Fudge and Sprouting Seeds

February 10, 2010

Seeds
Knowing that lavender seeds can take up to 28 days to germinate, I was not checking my seeds as regularly as I should and was surprised to find this morning that ‘Lavender Lady’ was sprouting! I had put the pots containing the planted seeds in a plastic bag to create a little greenhouse and help prevent the soil from drying out. I’ve moved the plants to the sunny windowsill, but am annoyed at myself as they are leggier than I would have liked. I should have checked them more regularly.

The other variety I started is called L. a. ‘French Perfume’. I bought these seeds last year, but didn’t get them started. The seeds have been stored in a cool dry spot, so I’m hoping they are still OK. There is not sign of life in that pot yet.

Fudge
I’m working on my next lavender book and have been developing easy lavender recipes to include. Lavender and chocolate go quite nicely together and I found an easy chocolate fudge recipe. I thought it would be simple to add the lavender flavor to it.

How wrong could I be!

The recipe called for sweetened condensed milk, semi-sweet chocolate and mini marshmallows. I put a heaping tablespoon of lavender in the milk and heated it to just before boiling. Then let it sit, to let the lavender flavor sink into the milk. That part went very well and I could smell the lavender in the milk. I strained the milk, to remove the lavender flowers and then added the chocolate. The chocolate was just too over-powering and I really could not detect any lavender in the final product. But – I had to make it again to be sure!
Here are the proportions:
10 oz of Condensed milk (300ml can)
6 oz of semi sweet Chocolate – broken into pieces
3/4 cup of mini marshmallows.
Heat the milk, but not to boiling. Turn off the heat and stir in the chocolate until disolved. Add the marshmallows. I poured the mixture into a parchment lined container that was approx 6″ x 6″ and put in the fridge over night. It is really easy to make and I haven’t given up on getting lavender into it somehow.

Garden Shows
The garden shows will be starting soon. On Saturday February 20, the Toronto Botanical Gardens hosts “Jump on Spring”. It is a free, all day event with garden and design experts giving presentations throughout the day. Many of the local horticulture societies have tables to promote their groups and there are some vendors as well.

We have our first meeting of the Greater Toronto Rose and Garden Society for the year on Sunday March 7 at the Toronto Botanical Gardens. A friend and I are planning an trip to the Philadelphia Garden Show that begins at the end of February and runs for a week. No sooner do we get home, than Canada Blooms begins on Wednesday March 17. They have a new venue at the Exhibition grounds, which I think will work out very well. Beginning March 18 is Successful Gardening at the International Centre, near the Toronto Airport.
All for now.