Sometimes known as the witches herb or elf leaf, lavender has a long history and is purported to offer many benefits including antiseptic, purifying and worm-purging properties. It’s said witches covet this richly scented herb because it improves clairvoyance and protects against the evil eye. Lavender is also associated with tranquillity, good luck, sleep and love.
My mother and grandmother would sing the ‘Lavender’s Blue’ lullaby to us when we were young children; I still remember the words, the melody and how they both sounded. My love of lavender began in my grandmother’s garden where I would sit watching honey bees and butterflies on the blue-mauve flowers. The plants were, quite literally, crawling with life and you’d hear the buzzing long before you’d see the flowers.
There’s an alternative version of ‘Lavender’s Blue,’ possibly the original source of the lullaby. It’s a 17th century folk song with rather bawdy lyrics and a number of suggestions that are far from innocent… not the stuff of lullabies at all! This discovery hasn’t diminished my liking for lavender, it’s perfume and happy memories it inspires.