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The Aromatherapy Garden

by Penny Price May 12, 2022 7 min read

The Aromatherapy Garden


Stopping to smell the roses — or lavender, or sage, or peppermint — seems like an almost impossible feat when phones are pinging, dogs are barking and there's some frantic activity in the morning to get everyone where they should be. However, taking or making time to recharge, try new hobbies and relax a little- is essential for mental well-being. So to create a fragrant, therapeutic space to calm down, get focused and boost your mood let’s turn to aromatic plants. Fragrances have the power to modify our brain and frame of mind. Inhaling their aromas is a powerful form of natural therapy. Here are a few tips on what to grow.

Include these plants in your garden or home to create a scented oasis of calm and well-being

🌿 Basil
🌼 Chamomile
🌱 Coriander
🌱 Fennel
🌼  Lavender
🌿 Marjoram
🌿 Melissa (Lemon balm)
🌿 Peppermint
🌹  Rose
🌿 Sage
🌿 Thyme


Placing fragrant roses near doorways and windows creates a relaxing ambience, but obviously they take time to grow and flourish. Herbs grow more quickly and planting lavender and Melissa (lemon balm) near garden paths allows you to enjoy their calming fragrance as you walk by. Both thrive in full sun, which makes them a great pair for the garden. Lavender releases its oils as you brush the leaves and flowers. Because it does well in containers, Melissa is a great aromatic choice for flats or homes with small outdoor spaces.

roses in garden

Elevating fragrant plants on wall gardens, raised beds or shelves brings them closer to nose level, which allows their therapeutic scent to be fully enjoyed. It also makes it easier for gardeners who may have difficulty reaching plants if bending or mobility is an issue. We all need a sanctuary, a place to restore and rejuvenate, especially in these worrying times. By adding fragrance to our outdoor spaces, we create true aromatherapy right in our own garden spaces.

The Aromatherapy Garden - Mints

Mints are a great starter plant to start with, they are easy to grow and many different varieties are available, all with lovely fragrant aromas!

A few tips on growing mint:

  •  Good idea to grow in pots, they are vigorous plants and will spread fast!
  •  Starter plants are useful for mint plants as they can be difficult to grow from seed, another way to grow is from a cutting.
  •  Cut about half an inch above the stem junction with sharp scissors. Make sure the cutting is at least 4–6 inches long and remove most of the leaves.
  •  Fill a clean glass with water. Place freshly cut sprigs in the glass to grow new roots. Keep it in a warm, sunny place and wait for white roots to grow out of the cut stem. Keep topping up the glass of water when needed.
  •  You will then see the roots start to grow back, make sure they are a few inches long before planting in a pot.
  •  Give plants plenty of water, especially during hot, dry weather.
  •  Avoid growing different varieties of mint close together, whether in pots or the ground, as they can lose their individual scent and flavour.

The Lamiaceae Family 

Mint is part of the Lamiaceae plant family there are many varieties and are generally easy to grow in pots and the garden. The Lamiaceae family contains a rich variety of herbaceous plants you would be surprised such as:

🌿  Sage
🌿  Lavender
🌿  Rosemary
🌿  Basil
🌿  Thyme
🌿  Lemon Balm
🌿  Marjoram
🌿  Hyssop


Mints yield more aromatic oils than any other for aromatherapy use. Mints have been used for healing and for the spirit and emotions for centuries. Culpepper says that mint refreshes the brain - Shakespeare says that mint strengthens the mind Traditionally mints are used to help the digestive system, cool irritated skin and increase alertness.

Types of Mint 

Here are a few types of mint to get you started:

🌿 Cornmint - Mentha arvensis
🌿 Peppermint - Mentha x piperita
🌿 Spearmint - Mentha spicata
🌿 Apple mint - Mentha suaveolens
🌿 Ginger mint - Mentha × gracilis
🌿 Chocolate Mint - mentha piperita f citrata 'chocolate'
🌿 Tashkent mint - Mentha spicata


Dried Herbs can be used in cooking oils or as food Garnishes, flowers can be used in baths for a touch of luxury, in teas to enhance flavour (dried peppermint leaves are perfect) using dried flowers to make potpourri, there are so many uses. Some dried flowers and plant matter can be used in aromatherapy, find out more in Penny’s blog: blog: Making Macerated Oils!


The Aromatherapy Garden - Lavender 

Lavender is a hardy perennial shrub that is also part of the Lamiaceae family. A staple of Aromatherapy and of many aromatic gardens, with bright blue to purple flowers with wonderfully uplifting and calming scents. Lavender flourishes best in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun. (Suited to pots and in the ground with enough room to grow and good drainage)

There are several different types of Lavender Essential Oils available on the market, below are some of the Lavender Oils available from Penny Price Aromatherapy. All Lavender, but what exactly are the differences between them?

 

🌿 Lavandin Abrial - Lavandula x intermedia Abrialis
🌿 Lavandin Super - Lavandula x intermedia
🌿 Lavender English - Lavandula angustifolia Mill
🌿 Lavender French - Lavandula angustifolia
🌿 Lavender High Altitude - Lavandula angustifolia
🌿 Lavender Spike - Lavandula latifolia
🌿 Lavender Stoechas - Lavandula stoechas 


As you can see from the table above there are 7 different lavender essential oils here alone many with the same or slightly varied Latin names. As with most plant species, there can be different varieties of the same plant. As we can see from the table above there are 4 main types of Lavender.

Lavandula Latifolia - Lavender spike

Lavandula Stoechas- Lavender Stoechas

Lavandula Angustifolia - Lavender English, French, High Altitude

Lavandula X Intermedia- Lavandin Abrial, Super



Lavandula x intermedia
 

Known as Lavandin is a class of hybrid plant that was created by crossing Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia. Lavandin hybrids tend to be larger in size with flowers ranging from grey to blue colours. It is mostly grown for commercial use as the flowers yield more oil than Lavandula Angustifolia or Lavandula latifolia. Others species of Lavandin include Grey Hedge, Silver grey and Alba.


Lavandula latifolia

Spike Lavender is also known as broadleaved Lavender, Aspic or Lavendula Spica, Lavandula Latifolia grows to about 1 metre high with grey-blue coloured flowers.


Lavandula angustifolia

Known as True Lavender, Common Lavender, French Lavender is a highly aromatic plant with blue-violet coloured flowers. There are many varieties if Lavandula Angustifolia such as Lavender Stoechas, French, English and Spanish Lavender are different varieties of Lavendula Angustifolia all with varying scents and characteristics.


Lavender French

This Lavender has a sweet, floral, warm, fresh aroma. Lavender French smells significantly different from Spike Lavender and marginally different to Lavandin. Lavender French is calming, relaxing, soothing and rejuvenating. 

The saying ‘if in doubt use lavender’ is, in the main, true.  Lavender has a wide range of therapeutic effects.  It is analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, sedative, cardiotonic, cicatrizant (healing), emmenagogic and hypotensive.  It is best known for its stress-relieving properties, treating headaches, burns, wounds, irregular periods, asthma, eczema, acne, candida, aches and pains and high blood pressure.

Lavender English

A sweet, floral aroma and is calming, relaxing, soothing and rejuvenating, the smell is less sweet than French lavender. It is a hardy herb has a delicate purple-blue flower in spring and summer.  Grown in Norfolk, Oxfordshire and Kent (usually) this hardy perennial has been bred to house a proportion of the essential oil glands internally so that harvesting does not affect the majority of the oil. Indigenous to the Mediterranean region but is now cultivated all over the world. The oil is mainly produced in France, Spain and England.

Lavender Spike

A water-white or pale yellow liquid with a penetrating, fresh-herbaceous, camphoraceous odour. It is an aromatic evergreen shrub that grows up to about to 1 meter high with lance-shaped leaves, broader and rougher than the True lavender. The flower is more compressed and of a dull grey-blue colour. Indigenous to the Mediterranean region but is now cultivated all over the world. The oil is mainly produced in France, Spain and England. There are many different varieties of Lavender, the cotton Lavender and the sea Lavender belong to different botanical families.

Lavender Stoechas 

Has a sweet, floral, warm, fresh aroma with balsamic undertones and a woody hint. Lavender Stoechas is circulatory and invigorating. A hardy herb has a delicate purple-blue flower in spring and summer that is quite different from the traditional lavender flower, being quite short and spiky. The plant is much smaller and less spectacular. Indigenous to the Mediterranean region but is now cultivated all over the world. The oil is mainly produced in France, Spain and England. There are many different varieties of Lavender, the cotton Lavender and the sea Lavender belong to different botanical families.

Lavender High Altitude

Has a sweet, floral, warm, fresh aroma it smells significantly different to Spike Lavender and marginally different to Lavandin. Lavender High Altitude is calming, relaxing, soothing and rejuvenating. It is a hardy herb has a delicate purple-blue flower in spring and summer. It is not to be confused with larger cross-breeds of the lavender family, such as spike or lavandin, as it does not have the same essential oil properties, or appearance, being much smaller and less spectacular. Common to Europe, the flower from this plant yields one of aromatherapy’s favourite essential oils.

Lavandin

Also known as Dutch Lavender is fresh and floral. Lavandin super is a cleansing oil, to help balance and maintain a healthy respiratory system. Larger than true lavender with woody stems and purple-blue flowers, which are abundant. It is mainly cultivated in France and Spain. The natural growth of this plant occurs in the mountainous regions of Southern France where both parent plants grow wild at different altitudes. 



Cuttings and Dried Flowers

When you come to drying out your lavender flowers the best time is just before the flowers have started to open, cutting from near the bottom of the stem, not at the top really close to the flowers. You can then bunch the cut lavender together tie near the bottom then hang it upside down to dry out. Try not to leave it in a damp spot, give it some warm light to help dry out. (don’t leave in direct sunlight though as this risks the flowers shrivelling up/turning brown) After around 2-4 weeks once it is completely dry you can then gently rub or shake the small flower buds off and store in a jar.

Some Uses for Dried Lavender Flowers 

Lavender Sachets - Popping some of your dried Lavender flowers into a small linen bag can be used in many ways!

lavender buds in bags

 

  • Pop into your clothing drawers and cupboards to keep fresh with a lovely lavender aroma. 
  • Great for using as a car air fresher just hang it from your mirror as normal
  • Pop-under your pillow to help get a great nights sleep. 
  • Sprinkle a few Lavender lowers into your bath for a luxurious treat - if you don't want flowers floating in your bath just pop a few into a sachet as before and pop it in your bath as it fills up. 

 

Penny Price
Penny Price


2 Responses

Marjorie Turner
Marjorie Turner

June 02, 2022

Hello

Very VERY useful. In these stringent forthcoming times the necessity to grow our own fruit, veggies and herbs will become a good habit!

Thank you.

Pam Fleetwood
Pam Fleetwood

May 14, 2022

WOW!! What a fabulous E-mail, chock full of information of everything we simply love about the way ‘offerings of nature’ makes us feel – & giving us the opportunity to share it with others.
Also continues to make me feel so proud to have been trained by PPA.
Thank.you.

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