It is believed that lavender initially originated in Persia and the Spanish Canary islands that face Morocco, but it has been cultivated across the world since ancient times, when it was widely used by the Greeks and Romans (as we know the word ‘lavender’ actually comes from the Latin verb ‘lavare’, which means ‘to wash’, as the Romans were known to use lavender to perfume and disinfect their bath houses and laundry).
However today there are certain areas that now specialise in growing lavender, Jersey happening to be one of them!
Lavender in Jersey
The delightfully temperate climate that we have here in Jersey is perfect for growing superb lavender. With plenty of fine sunny summer weather, the hottest days tend to fall in July and August, when temperatures can often exceed more than 25°C. Even the winter climate on Jersey is relatively mild and average daytime temperatures in January, the coldest month, staying close to 9°C. Jersey is well known for experiencing the most annual sunshine in the whole of the British Isles. The weather here in Jersey is particularly well suited to growing our own native species of lavender, lavandula angustifolia, which is just as happy as a sand-boy in the slightly cooler climate than exhibited in the land of its origins.
Lavender in Provence
Another area famous for producing lavender is Provence in South-Eastern France. The lavender grown here is mainly the Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso’ variety – a hardy plant, perfectly suited to withstanding the colder winter conditions of the high plateaux in the Sault area, at the base of Mont Ventoux. Lavender also grows in the Apt area, in the Luberon and in the Valréas Enclave. Most of Provence has a Mediterranean climate, characterized by hot, dry summers, mild winters with little snow, and abundant sunshine. In the summer months of July and August the temperature can regularly reach 28°C, rarely dropping below 17°C. This also tends to be harvest time, to ensure that the lavender is cut when it is at its optimum.
Lavender in Tasmania
If you want to venture a little further afield to visit some truly beautiful lavender fields, then there is a booming lavender industry in Tasmania (an island state, part of the Commonwealth of Australia, located 240 kilometres to the south of the Australian continent, separated by Bass Strait). As would be expected for lavender fields on the other side of the world, flowering and harvesting takes place during December and January when temperatures reach around 24°C. Tasmania has a temperate maritime climate, which means as a rule, there are seldom vast extremes of temperature, though of course it gets both hot and cold. On mainland Australia weather is generally more arid and, particularly in some states, less seasonally defined than weather in Tasmania.
But, just as there is currently a movement towards keeping a check on your food miles and to buy ‘local’, why not also think about your lavender miles and indulge in some of our fantastic Jersey Lavender.