‘Lavender’s blue, dilly dilly
When I am king, dilly dilly
You shall be queen.’
Found in gardens all over the world, the lavender is much loved for the understated bluish-purple of its flowers, after which the colour is named. But what really gives the lavender its timeless popularity is the wonderful fragrance that it exudes.
Historically, lavender was employed for a hundred different purposes, from scenting baths and washing clothes, to warding off the Black Plague. Infusions of lavender were also thought to remedy headaches, stress and skin problems like acne—uses which are still in vogue today owing to its anti-bacterial properties. Lavender was even a favourite kitchen herb, and is enjoying something of a renaissance as a flavour in desserts.
Given as a bouquet, lavender expresses eternal devotion and constancy, meanings that would be perfect for an aromatic wedding bouquet or to demonstrate loyalty to a friend or for a common cause (such as a company project). Lavender can denote acknowledgement of a message, but that does not necessarily mean it was well received because it might be signifying distrust or suspicion. As a reply to a message of love, it is the botanical equivalent of a nice rejection: ‘I like you very much, but I don’t love you.’ Still, at least it is more eloquent than a hackneyed ‘Let’s just be friends.’
* Devoted, loyal or constant
* Suspicion and distrust
* ‘I like you, but I don’t love you.’
Origin: Lavender is native across the Mediterranean region to as far as North and East Africa, and India.
Season: Summer is the season for lavender in gardens, but in florists they are available all year round.
Colour: Lavender is, well, lavender-coloured.
Author: Alethea Dean