One Saturday in late July, I enjoyed shopping at the Edmonds Farmers Market. Among the many booths offering locally grown fruits and vegetables, I discovered one devoted exclusively to lavender. Woodinville Lavender displayed an array of lavender plants, dried bouquets, soaps, shampoos and culinary lavender buds. The owner, Tom Frei, told me he and his wife recently planted lavender at their suburban property. They both work full-time in other jobs, and have started this as a part-time activity.
I am frequently asked what variety or cultivar of lavender is best for culinary use. So I was curious to hear what this grower would recommend. “I only like to use the English or True Lavender for cooking,” said Tom. “One of my favorites is Betty’s Blue.” Tom showed me a small compact plant with silvery leaves.
Since that day, I have learned that is plant was introduced by Nichols Garden and Nursery in Albany, Oregon. Betty’s Blue was named after the nursery manager, Betty Walker. According to Lavender at Stonegate, the plant was discovered when a chance seedling was noticed. When it blossomed, the bright blue flowers and its mild fragrance made it popular and suggested its name.
My next step is to find a good sunny spot in my garden for my new addition. I will plant it this weekend. By getting it in the ground this fall, the plant will have many months to get established. Can’t wait to see the blossoms, experience the fragrance and taste its flavor.