Collecting the folklore and uses of plants


1. Conversation with KE, from Toronto, Canada, currently living in London, July 2012:
RV: What’s that in your rucksack?
KE: Lavender, for my closet, to keep moths away. I’ve been using it for years, it does work and makes things smell good. At home I keep things in a cedar wood chest, which keeps moths away, but we don’t have them there. Here they’re around all year, and the house I’m living in is owned by an old lady, so there are all sorts of nooks and crannies for them to hide in. They don’t eat cotton; mainly good woollen things.

2. Lavender bags, etc., in cupboards to keep away moths [Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, October 2004].

3. Dried lavender to keep flies out of kitchen [Bromley, Kent. March 1997].

4. In the old days lavender was known to be good for headaches and comforting the nerves, because of its pleasant aroma; now lavender water applied to the forehead of a patient helps a lot [Boat-of-Garten, Inverness-shire, November 1991].

Images: main, cultivated, Tatem Park, London Borough of Enfield, July 2014; upper inset, cultivated since 2013, Foxbury Farm, Stone Street, Kent, October 2016.; lower inset ‘Field of Lavender, Wallington’, Surrey [now London Borough of Croydon], postcard, c.1915.