Lavender, Rosemary & Thyme | A Must for Every Garden

I am going to take you on a little garden tour and show you how to grow 3 of my most favorite plants: lavender, rosemary & thyme. These plants are a MUST for every garden.

In this post I am going to show you what these plants looks like, how to easily grown them and what you can do with them. So let’s get to it!

You can watch the Lavender, Rosemary & Thyme garden tour video at the end of the post.

Lavender

There are a few names for English lavender including common lavender and its scientific name, Lavandula angustifolia. The classic English lavender is the toughest of the clan, and stays compact and tidy, with foliage to about 18 inches and flower stalks another 12 inches or more. This is the variety I prefer because it has long stems for crafting and drying.

Did you know that there are actually 47 species of lavender? English lavender is just one of them, and there are different varieties of English lavender. Don’t get overwhelmed, most nurseries will carry just the basic lavender plants, and English lavender will be one of them. Get one that has long stems!

How to grow lavender

Lavender plants will tolerate many growing conditions, but they thrive in warm, well-draining soil, and full sun. It’s possible to grow lavender from seed, but it will take a year or two of growing before they’re ready to plant in the garden. It’s so much easier just to purchase a plant already established in a pot.

Planting

  • Space the lavender varieties a foot apart to create a hedge, and three feet apart for an airier planting.
  • If you’re planting dwarf types, you can place them a little closer together since they’re naturally smaller plants.
  • Place them in a hole at the same level they were in their pot but make the hole twice as wide. Compact the soil and water them in well.
  • Keep the soil moist until they’re established, but after that, they don’t need a lot of water.

Pruning Lavender

Begin pruning the plants in their second year. After flowering, cut the spent flower stalks down and shape the plants. You will also want to prune the plants in the spring just after they begin showing the first flush of new leaves. Cut just above the new foliage. Also, take off any stems or branches that look brown and woody off.

Harvesting Lavender

The best time to harvest English lavender is when the buds have formed on the plant but the flowers have not yet opened and are still tight. If you wait until they fully bloom they won’t retain as much fragrance and the color will tend to fade. (There have been years when time gets away from me and I don’t cut them until they are bloomed. It’s not the end of the world, still cut and use the flowers).

Be sure to leave behind at least two sets of leaves on the green part of the stem. If you cut all the way back to the woody part of the stem, that stem will not regrow.

What can you do with Lavender?

Crafts

  • Enjoy the beauty of them in your garden.
  • The lovely purple color and contrast green stem is a compliment to any garden.
  • Dry the flowers for crafts, floral arrangement, wreaths, gift wrapping, and aromatherapy.
  • Eye pillows, lavender wands, and lavender sachets are my favorite things to make with lavender. Stay tuned for these upcoming tutorials.

Recipes

ROSEMARY

Oh how I love rosemary. Rosemary was probably one of the first herbs I was introduced to while visiting a lovely herb garden way back when I was a young mother. This garden had a quaint little gift shop nestled in among the plants. This is where my love for herbs started.

Rosemary is a perennial evergreen shrub with little blue flowers. It is an aromatic and distinctive herb with a sweet, resinous flavor. 

Planting

Rosemary can be grown from seed, but again the germination rates are generally quite low and seedlings are slow to grow. Therefore, I strongly recommended to start new rosemary plant from cuttings taken from established plants or just purchasing a more mature plant.

Cuttings grow quickly in good conditions and should be ready for outdoor planting in about 8 weeks.

  • Plant in full sun.
  • The planting site should have well-draining soil. Rosemary doesn’t like wet feet either.
  • Be sure to give your rosemary plants enough room to grow. Once established, rosemary can eventually grow to about 4 feet tall and spread about 4 feet as well. It does really well in warm climates.
  • Water rosemary plants evenly throughout the growing season, but be careful not to overwater.

Pruning & Caring for rosemary

Prune regularly so that plants won’t get lanky. In the spring, cut off any dead stems or struggling stems.

If you live in a colder climate, you may need to bring it inside for the winter. I always transplant one of my rosemary plants into a pot and bring it in during the winter. I love having the greenery and smell in my house. It’s like having a little Christmas tree in my house for months.

Although I have found a place in my garden that is protected and sheltered, most rosemary plants will freeze during the winter. My plants always died when they were located in other areas of the garden, but their current location is on the south side of the house and in a little nook where they get the heat off the house in the winter. They are thriving there.

Harvesting

Snip off stems to use fresh, or hang them in the kitchen for dried rosemary. I usually have a little spring hanging on my fridge for decoration.

It is so nice to be able to just walk outside and snip a little stalk when I need it for a recipe.

Rosemary can be dried and stored in an airtight container.

How to use rosemary

  • Chopped and used in cooking.
  • Crafts, gift wrapping
  • Made into a tea
  • Added to floral arrangements.
  • Aromatherapy

Recipes

Thyme

Thyme is one of those herbs that I grow in my garden mostly for medicinal reasons. Although it does have the cutest stems with tight leaves, and I do use it my cooking, I feel reassured I have it available for remedies.

Once again, there are many varieties of the plant. Thyme is a wonderful herb that has a pleasant aroma and a pungent flavor. It is used both ornamental in the garden and as a savory addition to many recipes. (Soups, grilled meats, and roasted vegetables).

How to grow thyme

Thyme is very easy to grow. It’s a low-growing hardy perennial, which has small, fragrant leaves and thin, woody stems. Thyme comes in over fifty varieties with different fragrances and flavors. Fresh or English thyme are used most often in cooking. I bought a yummy-smelling lemon thyme plant this year to add to my garden.

It is drought-friendly and very forgiving! (This is a plus in any garden). It is also pollinator-friendly, the bees love it!

Planting

  • Thyme thrives in full sun and loves heat. If you are growing in a pot indoors, plant near a sunny window.
  • Plant the thyme in well-drained soil. It doesn’t like to have wet feet!
  • It’s hard to grow thyme from seeds because of slow, uneven germination. It’s easier to buy the plants from a garden center or take some cuttings from a friend.

Pruning & Caring For thyme

  • Prune the plants back in the spring and summer to contain the growth.
  • If you have cold winters, remember to lightly mulch around the plants after the ground freezes.
  • Three to four-year-old plants need to be divided or replaced because older plants are woody and the leaves less flavorful.
  • You can propagate from your own cuttings, which is very easy to do. Just cut off a few stems, sit them in water until they form roots. Then you’re good to plant or give to a friend.

Harvesting Thyme

Harvest the plant just before the plant flowers by cutting off the top five to six inches of growth. Leave the tough, woody parts.

It’s best to harvest thyme in the morning after the dew has dried.

What to do with Thyme

  • Cooking

I have several recipes and salad dressing that I add fresh thyme to. I love being able to go out in the garden and clip a few sprigs of thyme when I need it. Just so you know fresh herbs at the grocery store are quite pricey. So you are saving a lot of money by having them accessible in your garden.

Fresh thyme should be stored refrigerated and wrapped lightly in plastic, and it should last one to two weeks.

You can also freeze thyme in an ice cube tray with water.

To dry thyme, hang the sprigs in a dark, well-ventilated, warm area. You can also just dry the leaves by placing them on a tray. Once dried, store them in an airtight container. Crush just before using. Under good conditions herbs, will retain maximum flavor for two years. 

  • Make Tea
  • Use as an herbal remedy in salves, teas, tinctures, and bath soaks.

One of my favorite uses for thyme is to use in a healing thyme bath. Works well for respiratory conditions and sore throats. You can get all the details HERE.

Recipes

Now is the time of year to add some of these new plants to your garden. You are going to LOVE them, trust me!

Lavender, Rosemary & Thyme Tour

Play Video

Get your garden gloves on and enjoy your time in the garden.

Cheers,

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

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DIY Lavender EYE PILLOW | Easy Sewing Tutorial

There is nothing better than a soothing lavender eye pillow when you’re feeling stressed to take away the tension. This easy to follow DIY eye pillow tutorial will guide you through a quick and easy project that you can make in 10 minutes or less. Even a beginner seamstress can handle this!

I love using an eye pillow when

  • I take a nap
  • at the end of my yoga practice for savasana
  • and when I have a sinus headache. (I put it in the freezer to get it cold and then put it over my eyes).

What I love about this eye pillow it that it has a removable slip cover that you can wash, and the dried lavender stays fragrant for years.

What else is a lavender eye pillow good for?

  • Shields the eyes from light and visual stimulus. Covering the eyes blocks out glaring light, and blocks any visual stimulus that may keep your mind racing.
  • Relieves tension and eye strain.  Most people think the an eye pillow is just to block out the light, but the light weight of the flax seeds ensures the perfect amount of acupressure to release tension from the forehead, cheekbones, temples, neck and even the shoulders. Some yoga scholars also claim that the light pressure on the eyes sends a neurological signal to the brain that facilitates  whole body relaxation.
  • Calms and rests the mind. 

Here is a little article that talks about the oculocardiac reflex in the eyes that can serve as a very powerful doorway to the relaxation response. Now I know even a little more about the “why” of these wonderful eye pillow. (I’m all about the why)!

You can read more about the other benefits in one of my previous posts

 Materials & Items Needed

Cutting Out Inner Bag

Cut ONE strip of fabric 9 x 9 inches. (22.86 cm)

Cutting Out Slipcover

Cut ONE strip of fabric 5 x 20.5 inches. (12.7 x 52.07 cm)

Sewing Instructions Inner Bag

Fold fabric in half with right sides together.

Pin in place and sew along the bottom and side using a ¼ inch seam allowance.

(Leave one short side open). Turn inside out and press.

Make a paper funnel using a standard piece of paper. Simply roll in the sides and adjust the edges to form a cone. Adjust it so there is about a 1/2 inch opening and tape it in place.

Fill with approximately 1 cup rice, flax seeds, millet, or buckwheat. (My favorite are flax seeds).

Add 1/4 cup lavender buds. (optional). Oh, baby, this makes them smell so yummy! If you don’t have access to lavender buds, you and simply place a few drops of lavender essential oil on the outer cover, here and there. 

 

Fold the open end under ½ inch to the inside and sew close to the edge.

Sewing Instructions Slip Cover

Hem the short ends of the fabric by using a rolled hem method. (Folding under ¼ and then another ¼ inch).

Press and topstitch in place. Backstitch at the beginning and end of seam.

With Right Sides Together, fold left side over 1 ½ inches.

Fold the right side over so the edge is about ½ inch from the left fold.  Press and pin in place.

If you want to add a tag, this is when to do it. Stick the tag just inside the right folded edge. Let the tag hang out a bit, as to make sure to catch it in the seam.

Sew along the top and bottom of the slipcover, backstitching at the beginning and end of your seam. Add a tag in the top right corner. (Optional) If you have a serger, use it. If you don’t no worries. However, you are using a fabric that frays easily, use a zig-zag stitch to finish the edge of the seam allowance. You can do this by simply sewing a zigzag stitch down the seam.

Clip corners, turn inside out. Poke corners out and press. You can do this by simply sewing a zigzag stitch down the seam.

Slip the inner bag inside the slipcover.

EYE PILLOW CARE: 

Outer slipcover can be machine washed and dried. DO NOT WASH INNER EYE PILLOW BAG! To refresh lavender fragrance, simply squeeze bag contents to activate lavender.

Play Video

Remember self-care is critical in your wellbeing! Enjoy a little YOU time!

Have fun sewing!

 

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

Read More

Lavender Shortbread Cookie Recipe

lavender shortbread cookie
lavender shortbread cookie

I am posting this lavender shortbread cookie recipe in hopes that you still have some lavender lingering in your garden. This buttery, crunchy delicately flavored cookie is perfect for brunch, garden parties or with tea. The little flicks of purple lavender and glistening sugar speckles make this a beautiful irresistible treat.They taste amazing, by the way!

lavender shortbread cookie

I recently hosted a garden party where we sat around a table and made lavender wands, ate lunch, laughed and chatted. What a refreshing way to spend a summer day.

These fancy cookies are VERY easy to make. I know they’re not the healthiest dessert, but hey, it’s fun to splurge once in a while and have something totally yummy.

lavender shortbread cookie recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar, extra for sprinkling
  • ¾ lb unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3½ cups flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp culinary lavender blossoms (dried or fresh)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a cleaned coffee grinder, grind up the culinary lavender. If you don’t have a coffee grinder available you can finely chop it with a kitchen knife.
  3. Use the paddle attachment of a stand up mixer to cream the butter and sugar together until combined. However, if you don’t have a stand up mixer, just use a hand electric mixer or a spoon.
  4. Add vanilla and finely chopped lavender and mix.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the salt and flour together and then add it to the stand mixer.
  6. Mix until a dough forms. If using a spoon, this may take a bit. The dough will seem very dry, but just keep mixing until it all sticks together.
  7. Turn dough out on to a floured surface and roll into a log roughly 2 inches in diameter. (If you want square cookies, flatten each side on the counter to form a square log or just roll out to make round cookies).

8. After that, cover in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

lavender shortbread cookie

9. Using a sharp knife, slice the log of dough into ¼ inch thick slices. Place slices on an ungreased baking sheet or silicone baking mat.

10. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

11. Allow cookies to cool to room temperature and then sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar.

12. Serve and ENJOY!

So set some time aside and have the girls over. Enjoy some laughs, relaxation and of course, some yummy treats!

Cheers,

Lavender Shortbread Cookie Recipe

lavender shortbread cookie

This buttery, crunchy delicately flavored cookie is perfect for brunch, garden parties or with tea. The little flicks of purple lavender and glistening sugar speckles make this a beautiful irresistible treat.

  • Prep Time10 min
  • Cook Time12 min
  • Total Time22 min
  • Ready in72
  • Course
    • Dessert
[MEDIAVINE EXAMPLE AD SPACE 1]

Ingredients

    • 1 cup granulated sugar, extra for sprinkling
    • ¾ lb unsalted butter, room temperature
    • 3½ cups flour
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp culinary lavender blossoms (dried or fresh)
[MEDIAVINE EXAMPLE AD SPACE 2]

INSTUCTIONS

1

Preheat oven to 350.

 
2

In a cleaned coffee grinder, grind up the culinary lavender. If you don’t have a coffee grinder available you can finely chop it with a kitchen knife.

3

Use the paddle attachment of a stand up mixer to cream the butter and sugar together until combined. However, if you don’t have a stand up mixer, just use a hand electric mixer or a spoon.

4

Add vanilla and finely chopped lavender and mix.

5

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk the salt and flour together and then add it to the stand mixer.

6

Mix until a dough forms. If using a spoon, this may take a bit. The dough will seem very dry, but just keep mixing until it all sticks together.

7

Turn dough out on to a floured surface and roll into a log roughly 2 inches in diameter. (If you want square cookies, flatten each side on the counter to form a square log or just roll out to make round cookies).

8

After that, cover in plastic wrap and then refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight.

9

Using a sharp knife, slice the log of dough into ¼ inch thick slices. Place slices on an ungreased baking sheet or silicone baking mat.

10

Bake for 10-12 minutes.

11

Allow cookies to cool to room temperature and then sprinkle the tops with granulated sugar.

12

Serve and ENJOY!

[MEDIAVINE EXAMPLE AD SPACE 3]

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How to Make Aromatic Lavender Wands

Oh lavender! Who doesn’t love the fresh, calming aroma of this beautiful purple perennial? What I love about this flower, is that it can be enjoyed equally fresh in the garden or dried for later use. One of my favorite things to do with lavender is to make lavender wands.

If you are lucky enough to have a lavender plant growing in your garden, this is a great time to cut it and preserve it for later use.

Yes, I know it’s hard to cut down those beautiful purple, sweet-smelling buds from your garden, but if you don’t they will just get old and start to turn brown, and then you will wish you would have cut them when their colors were brighter and stronger smelling. There is about a two-week window to cut the blossoms when they will be at their best.

Play Video

Items you will need to make lavender wands

  • Fresh Cut Lavender (cut the stems as long as possible, just above where the long stems come out of the leafy area of the plant).
  • Ribbon (you will need approximately 1 1/2 yards) per wand.  Any width of ribbon will work.
  • Scissors (for cutting ribbon and to trim the stems)

This is a very relaxing and rewarding project.  So gather some friends or family around and do a little weaving. Making these lavender wands will give you some time to SLOW down, do a little chatting and enjoy some aromatherapy as well. Your house will smell fabulous!

Let’s get started!

How to make lavender wands

  • Choose 17 or 19 stems. It doesn’t really matter how many, you will just need an ODD NUMBER of stems. Use your fingers to slide down the stem to strip all the leaves off of each stem.
  • Arrange the stems so the bottom of the blossoms are even. Take the ribbon and tie around at the base of the flowers. (Leave about a 12 inch tail).
  • Pull the ribbon tight and knot.
  • Carefully fold the stems down over the flowers, evenly disbursing the stems all the way around.
  • Take the ribbon tail (the shorter end of the ribbon) and fold it down, tucking it in the middle of the flowers. You will pick it up after you are finished weaving to use to make a bow.
  • Take the long ribbon and start weaving over one stem and under the next. Over and under. (The first few rounds will take the longest, until you get your pattern going).
  • Leave a little space between the rows of ribbon. You can experiment to get it to look like you want.
  • Don’t pull it real tight, but it shouldn’t be real loose either.  The flowers will dry better if they are not squeezed too tight.
  • Keep weaving over and under. If you get messed up and weave over two instead of one, just continue, you won’t even notice.
  • This is supposed to be relaxing!!!!  Continue to weave until you have covered the flowers.
  • Locate the ribbon tail you tucked inside and pull it out.
  • Wrap the ribbon around few times and tie a tight bow. Cut off the excess stems and ta dah, there you have it!
  • It will become addicting, you will want to make another one using a different color of ribbon, before you know it you will have a handful.

What do you do with these colorful, sweet smelling beauties?

  • Attach to a gift, or make it a gift in itself with a thoughtful note attached
  • Tuck them in drawers to keep linen, and clothes smelling fresh
  • Hang in the closet
  • My son made one for his car and one for his rock climbing shoes.  LOL!
  • Use as a bug and moth repellent  in fabric and WOOL SWEATER BINS.

I keep a stash of lavender wands in a zip bag or plastic shoe box for gifts all throughout the year. They stay beautiful and keep their fragrance for years!

If the smell starts to fade, just give the wand a good squeeze, and the fragrance will come out again.

Don’t waste any lavender

Save the lavender you do not use to make sachets and other things.

 

Let the stems dry out a few days and then get a big bowl and strip all the blossoms off by sliding your fingers down the stems. The blossoms will fall off into the bowl. Place the blossoms in a tightly closed jar until you are ready to make other projects.

 

Here are some other LAVENDER posts that you may be interested in.

LAVENDER HARVESTING TIME

LAVENDER SHORTBREAD COOKIES

HOW TO GROW LAVENDER

If you don’t have any lavender growing in your garden, I think it’s time you do! You won’t regret it!

Have fun weaving green and purple goodness!

 

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Jan Howell

Jan Howell

My intention for this website is to share tips and tutorials that I have found on my journey of life that has brought me joy, improved health, and peace, in hopes that it will do the same for you. I hope you'll join me on this journey!

Read More

Lavender Harvesting Time

It’s lavender harvesting time. Love this plant! There truly isn’t anything better than the aroma of fresh lavender! Well, rosemary comes real close!

Lavender Harvesting Time

Benny, my border collie, was having a great time chasing the bees. (Just another one of his compulsive behaviors).

Lavender Harvesting Time

It was a nice morning to be out in the garden. The garden has been a little neglected, the past few years with our remodel project, but we are slowly getting things back in control.

There is just something about getting your hands in the dirt that rejuvenates the spirit. Gardening can be very enjoyable and uplifting if you don’t let it overwhelm you. I am learning to let some things go, put the gloves in the bucket and go inside when it becomes too much.

Lavender Harvesting Time

When is the best time to harvest lavender?

I like to cut the lavender before the buds fully blossom, then you have the tight buds that are great for filling sachets and things. If you wait too long, the flowers start to fade and even turn brown. You don’t want faded blossoms if you are planning on using them for flower arrangements or lavender crafts.

Speaking of lavender crafts. One of my most favorite summer activities is to sit out under a tree and weave lavender wands. It has been a few years since I have made any. I hope to get with a friend next week and do a little chill time, chatting and relaxing while we make some lavender sachet wands.

Learn how to make these fun lavender wands here.

Here it is the middle of June already. Get yourself out in the garden. If you don’t have a garden, find a lovely park or find somewhere out in nature to be in. Before we know it, the snow will be falling.

OTHER LAVENDER POSTS YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN:

DIY Lavender Eye Pillow

Lavender Shortbread Cookie Recipe

Lavender, Rosemary & Thyme: A must for every garden

The Benefits Of Using An Eye Pillow

Yep, simple as that! Simple, but challenging. Challenging because most of us think that just sitting and doing NOTHING is a waste of time and non-productive. When it is actually the best thing we can do.  Isn’t it funny that the things that could help us the most we dismiss because it seems too easy. Many of us have these inner beliefs that things have to be difficult, cost a lot of money, or take a lot of time for them to be effective. Well, taking a few minutes to cover your eyes with a soothing eye pillow is easy. It doesn’t cost a lot of money, and only takes a few minutes.

 
Eye Pillow
An eye pillow is just a little fabric pouch filled with flax seeds, rice or buckwheat that is applied over the forehead and on top of the eyes.

I will admit that sitting or lying still for 10-20 minutes thinking about nothing can be challenging. I remember years ago when I attended my first yoga class and the teacher had us get on the floor and lay down in “corpse pose” close our eyes, and just do nothing. My mind went crazy. It took me some time to be able to calm the inner chatter and relax.

But now, in my yoga practice when I start to wind down, my body and nervous system gets so excited. It knows it gets to just check out and chill in shavasana for 10 minutes. I tell my students, shavasana (final relaxation) is the most important part of the yoga practice, and sometimes the most challenging, but not to skip it. If you only have a few minutes, at the end of your practice or even if you are not practicing yoga, take time to be still. Better yet, cover your eyes.

 
Eye Pillow

For those of you who sew, these eye pillows are a snap to make.  All you need is:

  • Small piece of muslin for the inner bag
Eye Pillow
  • Small piece of fabric (flannel, cotton, silk or an upcycled cashmere sweater is nice) for the outer lining.  Having an outer covering like this makes it nice so you can wash it!
Eye Pillow
  • You can fill the pillow with rice, buckwheat, or flax seeds. I prefer flax seeds because they have the least smell to them.
Eye Pillow

I sell the pattern in a my Etsy shop or my Craftsy shop. The eye pillow pattern is included in a wonderful therapy bag set. In the set there are patterns and instructions to make hand warmers, neck & shoulder therapy bag, foot warmer and a large therapy bag.

If you don’t sew or just want to buy the eye pillows already made,

you can purchase them in my Authentic U esty shop

Eye Pillow

An eye pillow is a no-brainer accessory for your yoga bag. 

Eye Pillow

So whether you are going to a yoga class, want to take a power nap, want some help relaxing or need some relief from a nagging headache, get out your eye pillow and chill.

jan3