Lavendula, - so named for its use in fomentations and baths.
Lavendula spicata. - Spike-flowered Lavender. - This is a most desirable dwarf shrub, with delicate glaucous foliage, with spikes of blue flowers, in July; three feet. high. The whole plant is delightfully fragrant, but more particularly the flowers. These yield the oil from which the Lavender water is made. In some soils and situations the plant is tender. In cold, moist soil, it is almost sure to be winter-killed; but, in a dry, loamy, or gravelly soil, it endures our winters with but little protection. We have been successful in the cultivation of it in a soil of the latter quality, and, from the flowers that grew upon the edging of a circular bed, six feet in diameter, obtained more than one ounce of the pure Lavender, one drop of which would perfume a room. It is sometimes used for edgings, in milder climates, but grows too high for general use. As an edging for a bed of Moss Roses, we have seen it used with pleasing effect.
"The agreeable scent of Lavender is well known, since it is an old and still a common custom [in England, we suppose,] to scatter the flowers over linen, as some do rose leaves, for the sake of their sweet odor."
" Pure Lavender, to lay in bridal gown."
Lavender water, too, as it is usually called, although it is really spirit of wine scented with the oil of Lavender, is one of our most common perfumes. "The stalks of the Lavender, even when the flowers have been stripped away, have an agreeable scent, and, if burnt, will diffuse it powerfully and pleasantly. To a Londoner, it becomes a kind of rural pleasure to hear the cry of "Three bunches a penny, sweet Lavender! "
"And Lavender, whose spikes of azure bloom Shall be erewhile in arid bundles bound, To lurk amidst the labors of the loom, And crown her kerchiefs clean with mickle rare perfume."
Lavender is easily propagated by cuttings, or slips. It is a great pity that it is not perfectly hardy; but as it is, with a little choice in its location, it is easily preserved through the winter, and worthy of all the care and trouble that may be given to its cultivation.