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  • Paddy
  • Born and educated in Germany, I came to live in the UK in 1982. After working in various jobs over the years, I am now a freelance writer. I have a passion for wildlife and nature in general and love my family, my dog Jet, writing, music and dragons.
  • Born and educated in Germany, I came to live in the UK in 1982. After working in various jobs over the years, I am now a freelance writer. I have a passion for wildlife and nature in general and love my family, my dog Jet, writing, music and dragons.

A - Z Plant List

A - B - C - D/E

F - G - H/I/J

K/L - M - N/O

P - Q/R - S

T to Z

 

The A - Z of House Plants is currently under construction. Plant names will be linked to their corresponding articles as they are added. Please be patient - there are a lot of plants, and there may be days when only one or two articles can be added at a time. In the meantime, why not take a look at some of these general care articles:

 

A brief Guide to Potting Mixes

 

When and how to repot House Plants

 

Grooming House Plants - the Basics

 

Indoor House Plants and Light

 

Ten House Plants tolerating low Light Conditions

 

Indoor House Plants and Humidity Levels

 

Watering Indoor House Plants

 

Fertilising House Plants

 


To save readers having to scroll through the whole alphabet when looking for a specific plant, each section will be moved to its own page once all corresponding articles have been added. 

 

Yet to come: 

 

H

Haworthia

(Haworthia species)

Heartleaf Philodendron

(Philodendron scandens)

Hellebore

(Helleborus niger)

 Hibiscus

(Hibiscus rosa-sinensis)

Hyacinth Flower

(Hyacinthus orientalis hybrids)

Hydrangea

(Hydrangea macrophylla)

 

I

Impatiens

(Impatiens hybrids)

Iron Cross Begonia

(Begonia masoniana)

Ivy Geranium

(Pelargonium peltatum)

Ixora 

(Ixora coccinea)

 

J

Jade Plant

(Crassula ovata)

Janet Craig Dracaena

(Dracaena deremensis)

Japanese Aralia

(Fatsia japonica)

Jasmine Plant

(Jasminum polyanthum)

Jerusalem Cherry

(Solanum pseudocapsicum)

 

K

Kaffir Lily

(Clivia miniata)

Kentia Palm

(Howea forsteriana)

 

L

Lady Palm

(Rhapis excelsa)

Lantana Plants

(Lantana camara)

Lily of the Valley                                      

(Convallaria majalis)

Lipstick Plant                                          

(Aeschynanthus lobbianus)

Living Stones                                           

(Lithops species)

Lucky Bamboo                                        

(Dracaena sanderiana)

 

M

Madagascar Palm                                    

(Pachypodium lamerei)

Maidenhair Fern                                       

(Adiantum)

Mandevilla Plant                                       

(Mandevilla hybrids)

Martha Washington Geranium                   

(Pelargonium domesticum)

Medinilla                                                 

(Medinilla magnifica)

Ming Aralia                                              

(Polyscias fruticosa)

Miniature Roses                                        

(Rosa chinensis hybrids)

Mona Lavender                                        

(Plectranthus hybrid)

Money Tree Plant                                     

(Pachira aquatica)

Moses in the Cradle                                 

(Tradescantia spathacea)

Mother of Thousands                                

(Kalanchoe daigremontiana)

Mother-in-Law's Tongue/ Snake Plant        

(Sansevieria trifasciata)

 

N

Nerve Plant                                              

(Fittonia verschaffeltii)

New Guinea Impatiens                              

(Impatiens x hawkeri hybrid)

Norfolk Island Pine                                   

(Araucaria heterophylla)

 

O

Oleander Plant                                         

(Nerium oleander)

Orchid Cactus                                         

(Epiphyllum species and hybrids)

Ornamental Chili Pepper                           

(Capsicum annuum)

 

P

Paddle Plant                                            

(Kalanchoe thyrsiflora)

Panda Plant                                            

(Kalanchoe tomentosa)

Pansy                                                     

(Viola x wittrockiana)

Paperwhite Narcissus                               

(Narcissus jonquilla)

Papyrus Plant                                          

(Cyperus papyrus)

Parlor Palm                                             

(Chamaedorea elegans)

Parrot Flower                                           

(Heliconia psittacorum)

Passion Flower                                        

(Passiflora caerulea)

Peace Lily

(Spathiphyllum)

Peacock Plant                                         

(Calathea makoyana)

Peperomia                                               

(Peperomia caperata)

Periwinkle Flower                                     

(Catharanthus roseus)

Persian Shield                                         

(Strobilanthes dyerianus)

Persian Violet                                          

(Exacum affine)

Piggyback Plant                                      

(Tolmiea menziesii)

Pink Calla Lily                                         

(Zantedeschia rehmannii)

Pink Quill                                                

(Tillandsia cyanea)

Pitcher Plant                                           

(Nepenthes hybrids)

Plumeria                                                 

(Plumeria rubra)

Pocketbook Plant                                    

(Calceolaria herbeohybrida)

Poinsettia                                                

(Euphorbia pulcherrima)

Polka Dot Plant                                       

(Hypoestes phyllostachya)

Ponytail Palm                                          

(Beaucarnea recurvata)

Pothos/ Devil's Ivy                                    

(Epipremnum aureum)

Powder Puff Tree                                      

(Calliandra haematocephala)

Prayer Plant                                            

(Maranta leuconeura)

Primrose Flowers                                     

(Primula hybrids)

Purple Heart Plant                                    

(Tradescantia pallida)

Purple Passion Plant                                

(Gynura aurantiaca)

Purple Shamrock                                     

(Oxalis regnellii)

Pygmy Date Palm                                     

(Phoenix roebelenii)

 

Q

Queen's Tears                                         

(Billbergia nutans)

 

R

Rabbit Foot Fern                                      

(Davallia fejeensis)

Rex Begonia                                            

(Begonia rex)

Rosary Vine                                            

(Ceropegia woodii)

Rubber Plant                                           

(Ficus elastica)

 

S

Sago Palm                                              

(Cycas revoluta)

Satin Pothos                                           

(Scindapsus pictus)

Scarlet Star                                             

(Guzmania lingulata)

Scented Geranium                                   

(Pelargonium species and hybrids)

Schefflera                                                

(Schefflera actinophylla)

Sensitive Plant                                         

(Mimosa pudica)

Shamrock Plant                                       

(Oxalis species)

Shrimp Plant                                           

(Justicia brandegeana)

Siam Tulip                                               

(Curcuma alismatifolia)

Spider Lily                                               

(Hymenocallis littoralis)

Spider Plant

(Chlorophytum comosum)

Split-Leaf Philodendron                             

(Philodendron bipinnatifidum)

Staghorn Fern                                          

(Platycerium bifurcatum)

Strawberry Begonia                                  

(Saxifraga stolonifera)

String of Pearls                                        

(Senecio rowleyanus)

Swedish Ivy                                             

(Plectranthus species)

Sweet Potato Vine                                   

(Ipomea batatas)

Swiss Cheese Plant                                 

(Monstera deliciosa)


T

Thanksgiving Cactus                                

(Schlumbergera truncata)

Ti Plant                                                   

(Cordyline terminalis)

Tiger's Jaw                                              

(Faucaria tigrina)

Tulips                                                      

(Tulipa hybrids)

 

U - V - W

Urn Plant                                                 

(Aechmea fasciata)

Venus Fly Trap                                        

(Dionaea muscipula)

Wandering Jew                                        

(Tradescantia albiflora)

Wax Begonia                                           

(Begonia x semperflorens-cultorum)

Wax Plant                                               

(Hoya carnosa)

Weeping Fig                                            

(Ficus benjamina)

Windmill Palm Tree                                  

(Trachycarpus fortunei)

 

X - Y - Z

Yucca                                                     

(Yucca elephantipes)

Zebra Plant                                              

(Aphelandra squarrosa)

ZZ Plant                                                  

(Zamioculcas zamiifolia)

Sad News...

quote-10-06-2013-RIP.jpg

Stop Animal Cruelty

Instead of protecting the precious diversity of life on our planet, many countries, groups and individuals delight in performing acts of incredible cruelty to and on animals. To help stop this insanity going on, please go to The Petitions Site and add your voice to the thousands of individuals who are prepared to stand up and say: ' Enough is enough. Stop this now!' 

January 22 2012 1 22 /01 /January /2012 13:50

Indoor house plants have been cultivated from plants that are found in the wild all over the world. Just like they all have different needs with regards to watering and lighting, they also require different levels of humidity. In particular during the winter months, when hot air is being blasted into rooms, the air can get too dry for some tropical plants.

High Humidity-loving Plants

The list of plants that prefer comparatively high levels of humidity is endless, but some of the most common tropical indoor house plants needing high humidity include, for example, the Silver Nerve plant, Fittonia verschaffeltii 'Argyroneura' (and other Fittonias, like the red variety, for instance), Maidenhair Ferns, like the Adiantum capillus veneris, and some species among the Pilea family.

hum1.jpgOther indoor house plants with high humidity requirements are, to name but a few, coffee plants, such as the Coffea arabica or Coffea canphora, which is more commonly known as the Robusta; Stromanthes, such as the Stromanthe sanguinea 'Tricolor; various Heliconias, including Heliconia rostrata and Ginger plants, Zingiber officinale. Musa banana plants such as the Musa basjoo, Musa cavendishii and Musa zebrina, also prefer relatively high humidity.

Increasing Humidity

Naturally, it is necessary to raise humidity levels within the home if these plants are to survive. If plants are all over the house, a whole house humidifier may be advisable, but for plants in a single room, a room humidifier will be quite sufficient. Alternatively, humidity loving indoor house plants plants can be kept healthy by misting them daily - or as often as required - with a fine mist of water at room temperature.

Setting the plant container on a tray with wet pebbles will also increase humidity around the plant. For this purpose, the tray should be filled with just enough water to leave the bottom of the pot and the top of the pebbles dry. The water evaporates, creating the required humidity for the plant. Humidi-Grow trays offer another alternative. Here, the overflow of pots with drain holes is collected through a grid, then evaporates, creating an effect similar to the pebble tray. 

hum2.jpgPlants also create their own humidity by emitting moisture. Placing indoor house plants together in groups will assist them in generating some of the humidity they need for each other. This will help, but it may still be necessary to employ one of the above methods to help them along, especially if there is a fireplace blazing away in the room as well.

Signs of Plants lacking Humidity

Tropical indoor house plants are rarely cheap, and it would be a shame to lose them as a result of low humidity. Any proud owner of such plants will therefore want to look out for the most common signs indicating that a plant is suffering from conditions that are too dry. These signs are easily spotted, and include wilting, edges and/ or tips of the leaves turning brown and poorly developed flower buds. Flower buds that wither soon after opening may also indicate that the plant's environment is not humid enough.

By looking out for these signs and taking the necessary steps to increase humidity, owners of tropical, high humidity loving indoor house plants will ensure that they can enjoy the beauty of their plants for many years to come.

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January 21 2012 7 21 /01 /January /2012 17:08

It can be seen in lots of gardens, people can smell it as they are walking by... Lavender. This gorgeous, versatile plant is not only lovely to look at and smell, it also has excellent healing properties, its fragrance calms the mind and it has a range of culinary uses, making it an excellent addition to any garden. 

Using Lavender to get Sleep 

Hanging a few sprigs of lavender in the bedroom, or making a little sachet with the dried flower heads and sticking it under a pillow will provide a good night's sleep. These sachets are also excellent for adding a little fragrance to linen drawers. As a matter of fact, placing a bundle of lavender sprigs into any room will calm the mind and help to relax after a hard day's work.

lavender.jpgLavender, Stings and Bites

Anyone who managed to get stung in the garden and has no essential oil handy (see below) can simply crush a few lavender leaves and rub them over the sting. This works just as well for nettle stings as it works for insect stings or bites. When it comes to open wounds, the essential oil is typically better, although it is possible to use the plant directly. In this case, however, it is necessary to wash the plant material well before applying it. 

An alternative method is to boil some flower heads, then straining the liquid into preferably dark bottles. The bottles can be kept in the fridge for emergencies. It is best to prepare only a small quantity at a time, as lavender water will only keep fresh for a limited amount of time. Lavender water can be applied to cuts, stings and bruises, or used to mist pillows to aid sleep.

Incense Cones

02.jpgThe pulverised dried flower heads combined with pulverised dried holly-leaves make a wonderfully fragrant incense to help a person to get some sleep. To make the incense cones, it is necessary to dissolve 1 part of gum arabic in 2 parts of water and leave it to soak for about 3 hours. 

The plant powder is then mixed into the liquid until it is firm enough to shape it into cones. They then need to be left in a warm place to dry. If it is not possible to find any gum arabic, simply mixing the dried, pulverised plant material with a little lavender oil will also work. The mixture will still shape, dry and burn quite well, but the whole thing is a little more fragile and will crumble easily.  

Lavender in Cooking

To top it all, lavender can also be used in many tasty recipes. The author's favourite among recipes using lavender is a lavender cheese cake, which uses crushed flower heads as an ingredient of the biscuit base. The base is then covered in a mixture of cream cheese, natural yoghurt and double cream. 

By the time this mixture has set for a few hours in the fridge, the fragrance of the lavender will have permeated it, giving it a dreamy flavour. The whole thing is served with either strawberries or raspberries, which have been soaked over night in a lime juice syrup. This tasty, light dessert is without a doubt heavenly and will delight family and friends alike.

Lavender Oil

Comparatively cheap to buy, lavender essential oil, which is steam distilled from the flower tops, is a real must in any first aid box! Cuts, bruises, minor burns, insect bites and stings - whatever the problem may be, lavender oil will help! 

Being a 'safe' oil, it can be used even on children and applied directly to the affected part, where its antiseptic, anti-stringent and anti-spasmodic properties will quickly bring about healing. 

A few drops placed onto a pillow will calm the mind and aid restful sleep. This effect can also be achieved by lightly misting pillows with a mixture of ten drops of lavender oil and about half a pint of tepid water. 

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January 21 2012 7 21 /01 /January /2012 15:36

The Buddleia, otherwise known as 'Butterfly Bush', can be a right pain due to being an aggressively invasive plant. The author's Buddleia started out as a small, rather decrepit looking thing in the corner of her garden, but soon began a process of forming a small copse. 

As she and her husband like wildlife and butterflies in particular, they decided to let it carry on growing wild. It regularly provides an ever growing sea of colour, attracts a wide variety of different butterfly species, bumblebees and a range of other insects - and the smell of honey outside their backdoor is wonderful. 

Making Buddleia Jelly

While being off work for 5 weeks to look after her husband after a triple by-pass operation, she decided that it was time she used some of this abundance! Knowing that it is possible to use the petals of most plants, while the greenery can be poisonous, she began by cutting the little purple flowers of the flower heads. This is a tedious task, to say the least, but it is well worth the effort! 

PIC_0026.jpgShe then dropped the flowers, about about 12 flower heads worth for every six pints of water,  into boiling water and left them there just long enough to let them go almost white. After straining the fluid, she added 1 lb (about 450 g) of sugar per pint (about 1/2 litre) of fluid, a dash of lemon juice and a little extra pectin ( it works without, but will set much better with it!) and boiled it to setting point. 

Once she had removed it off the heat, she added the flowers of a single flower head, just for visual effect. Into the jars it went and there it was - eat your heart out honey-bees. It tastes deliciously like honey and, after eating a jar of it all by herself (she discovered it is wonderful just 'piled' onto digestive biscuits!), she can say it is definitely safe for human consumption! Anyone who likes a bit of honey will love this! 

Buddleia Wine

The next idea to strike was to make Buddleia wine. Never having made any kind of wine before, the author had no special equipment or ingredients available. Unsure if things would work, she only prepared approximately two pints worth of fluid and placed it into a plastic juice container with a flip-lid for ventilation. She then added about a teaspoon of dried yeast (the type used for baking) and a couple of teaspoons of sugar.

The airing cupboard seemed a perfect place to leave it, and after two weeks, fermentation appeared to be finished. After straining the liquid into bottles, she left them for nearly a year before trying the result of her effort. The taste is again reminiscent of honey, and it was certainly potent enough. So much for needing lots of expensive equipmenPIC_0037.jpgt to make wine. 

Needless to say, she will be making more than two small bottles of Buddleia wine this year, especially as several family members have already requested at least one bottle of it each. As for the jelly, her grandchildren love it and her daughter has just 'stolen' the last few jars from last year's harvest. 

To put it in a few short words, rather than cursing a Buddleia for the invasion and getting rid of it, why not use it to make some delicious treats, as well as allowing it to bring in the most gorgeous butterflies and bumblebees. It is worth it in every aspect. 

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January 21 2012 7 21 /01 /January /2012 14:37

While watering indoor house plants may appear to be fairly easy, more plants die as a result of too much or too little water being supplied than for any other reason. The problem is, different plants have different needs. Indoor house plants with lots of lush, soft foliage or masses of large leaves, for example, will need far more water than those with few, small leaves, or leaves with a leathery or waxy feel to them.

Factors affecting how much Water Plants need

bpvsc.jpgObviously, water requirements will vary depending on the species of plant and the natural habitat it derives from. A cactus, for instance, will never require as much water as a leafy plant originating from a rain forest. The soil in which indoor house plants are potted, the amount and intensity of light they are exposed to and the humidity and temperature in the room will equally affect their need for watering.

potsThe plant's growth cycle will also have an impact. During cycles of growth, the plant will absorb greater quantities of water than during rest or dormant periods. The type of pot it lives in also affects how much water needs to be provided. A pot that is too large may retain too much water, while a tiny pot may dry out too quickly for the plant's needs. Indoor house plants in plastic or glazed containers will require watering less frequently than those in porous clay pots, because much of the moisture will be lost through the pot's pores.

Knowing when a Plants needs Watering

Naturally, all indoor house plants will have slightly different needs when it comes to watering. For specific types of plant, it is therefore important to follow grower's instructions, or read up on what the plant likes in one of the many encyclopaedias for indoor house plants and their requirements.

Generally, though, plants should be watered thoroughly, using water at room temperature, then left to dry out a little before they are watered again. To determine whether a plant is ready for more water, all the caring owner needs to do is to stick a finger into the soil, right up to the first knuckle. If it feels dry, the plant may need watering; if it feels damp, it should be left a little longer.

Over-watering - The Number One Killer

The majority of indoor house plants are killed through over-watering, rather than through lack of water. This is because the roots of the plant can not absorb any more water than the plant actually needs. All the excess moisture in soggy soil will replace the vital oxygen normally present in the soil, thereby basically suffocating the plant and leading to the roots rotting away. 

If it looks like a plant may be waterlogged, placing tissues on top of the soil can help to absorb some of the excess moisture. The tissue needs to be replaced as soon as it becomes saturated, to allow for moisture to be drawn out. Should this fail to do the trick, and the plant begins to wilt or drop leaves, it will be necessary to take it out of the soggy soil and pot it in fresh, well drained soil as soon as possible. 

Mixing Plant Species in Containers

mixPlacing a selection of different indoor house plants into a single large container can achieve a very attractive look. Naturally, it is best to choose plants with similar requirements for such an attractive indoor garden. Combining plants that will require lots of watering with others that rarely want a lot of water, can and will lead to disaster, at least for some of the species used. 

By carefully selecting only indoor house plants with similar needs, this kind of disaster can be prevented. A simple, basic rule of planting such a container is 'if in doubt, leave it out'. The same principle can, by the way, also be applied when considering how plants will spread. Some species will literally take over a planter, strangling everything else in the process. Determining which type of plants will live happily in a communal planter is made easy with a good book on indoor house plants, online encyclopaedias or getting advice from staff at any good garden centre.

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January 21 2012 7 21 /01 /January /2012 10:26

Indoor house plants are a joy to behold and will make an environment altogether more pleasant. Just like other plants, they will assist in turning carbon dioxide into new oxygen, making the air in the room fresher and healthier. While some consist purely of often very attractive foliage, others will occasionally flower, providing a splash of colour. Although even exotic variations are typically comparatively easy to care for, knowing what a plant needs is important if it is to survive.

Light Requirements

One of the errors many people make when trying to look after indoor house plants is placing them into the wrong position. This may sound strange, but like garden plants, some indoor plants love to sit in bright sunlight, while other species much prefer to be tucked away in a shady corner. Others still need a combination of the two. Essentially, an indoor house plant's growth is regulated by two factors of lighting. One of these factors is the amount of light, or, to be more specific, the number of daylight hours the plant is exposed to. 

Factor number two is the intensity of light the plant receives. Levels of intensity required by indoor house plants can range from full shade to full, intense sunlight, and anything in between. The light intensity requirements of indoor house plants can basically be split into four main categories, namely fully shaded, partly shaded, bright and sunny. Grower's instructions on plants will use these categories for placement suggestions. Knowing what is meant by these terms will help to give the plant the best possible chance to thrive. So what sort of position do these terms suggest?

Fully shaded, or shady, Locations

Indoor house plants with a preference for shady locations should be placed in the corner of a room, a hallway or staircases. They will be fine near a window that is shaded by trees, but need to be a minimum of six feet away from windows facing south or south-west. 

Partly shaded Locations

Plants that prefer partial shade, or low light, are best placed in or near east facing windows, where they will only receive a few hours of cool morning sun, or in a window that faces north. These plants need to be at least three to five feet away from any windows facing south-west or south.

Bright Locations

For indoor house plant that like bright, indirect sunlight, a position about four to five feet from west or east facing windows, or three to five feet from south-west and south facing windows will be ideal. In short, a place where the plant can receive several hours worth of daylight without being directly exposed to sunlight is perfect.

Sunny Locations

A window sill flooded by sunlight, positions within two feet of south or south-west facing windows or a sun room will provide indoor house plants that like lots of sun with all the light they need. During summer, it i, however, wise to check them regularly, as extremely hot summers may result in even these plants being scorched.

Signs of too much Light

If indoor house plants are getting too much light, their leaves may begin to look faded or even become totally dry and fall off. Scorched, brown patches on the leaves also point to too much light, as will wilting during midday periods.

Signs of not enough Light

Insufficient light can be detected through spindly growth, often leaving long spaces between individual leaves. A lack of growth, new leaves being consistently smaller than already existing ones, yellow and falling off lower leaves and new shoots reaching for light are also signs of insufficient lighting. On variegated leafy indoor house plants, a lack of light may result in the leafs turning a solid colour.

The Prayer PlantExceptions to the Rule

While it is generally best to follow the instructions provided, sometimes a plant will have other ideas. The prayer plant, Maranta leuconeura kerchoviana, for instance, is typically sold with instructions to keep it in a partially shaded position. A few years ago, the author and her neighbour each bought one of these plants. The author simply stuck her plant into a south-facing window.

Within a couple of weeks, the plant exploded with growth, having to be re-potted and separated at least once a fortnight to keep up with its space requirements. Her neighbour's plant, on the other hand, was placed into the suggested partially shaded position. Its leaves very quickly turned a solid green and the plant simply would not grow until it was placed into a window. Strangely enough, some of the separated parts of both plants then preferred partly shaded positions. A little trial and error is obviously necessary, and by looking out for the signs, mistakes can soon be rectified. 

 

 

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April 18 2011 2 18 /04 /April /2011 16:03

Seen in most gardens, Lavender comes in many different varieties - English, French and Spanish - as well as anything besides and in between. This article is primarily concerned with the so - called English Lavender - Lavandula angustifolia - and its many uses.

The term "English Lavender" is somewhat misleading, as it refers to the region where the herb originates, rather than denoting a single variety. This umbrella term covers over 40 differently named varieties, ranging from the white flowering Lavandula angustifolia alba through the pink flowered Lavandula angustifolia rosea right down to the deep royal purple of Lavandula angustifolia hidcote.

Lavandula angustifolia was for a while called Lavandula officinalis, indicating that it was the one true variety, officially designated for medicinal purposes. However, it is now thought that Lavandula Vera (Vera Lavender, also frequently referred to as True or Fine Lavender) is the only true English Lavender.

The sweet, pure fragrance of Lavandula angustifolia has made it the perfect ingredient for soaps, perfumes and colognes, as well as the essential oil used in Aromatherapy.

The oil, whether steamed distilled or diffused at home, is a must in any first - aid box. Applied directly to any cuts, minor burns, bruises and insects stings or bites, it provides immediate relief and speeded healing. Crushing some of the plant's leaves and rubbing them over an affected area will work equally well.

For those experiencing problems when trying to get to sleep, a few dried sprigs of Lavender or a sachet filled with dried flower heads hanging by the bed will do wonders. Mixing pulverised dried flower heads and holly leaves with just enough lavender oil to shape cones, then leaving these cones to dry creates a pleasant, soporific incense (it should be noted that these cones may be fragile and can crumble easily).

This magnificent herb also has many culinary uses, from crushed flower heads used in cheesecake bases to cookies, pancakes, vinegars and tea, to name but a few.

Dried Lavender over fresh flower heads
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