Your Garden's Gift To You

Indulge by creating a home spa with the garden’s gifts for the hair and skin.

| April/May 2002

  • Photography by Anybody Goes

Plant your own beauty garden full of vegetables, herbs, and flowers that can be used to pamper yourself from head to toe. Sunflowers, cucumbers, and luffas will gently cleanse and soothe your skin, and a collection of herbs will scent, relax, and revive your body. Not only will your complexion glow with health when you use your own lotions, potions, and oils, but your spirits will instantly lift as soon as the sunflowers bloom.

One of the most enjoyable ways to take care of yourself is by relaxing in a warm bath or by massaging lotion deep into your skin. By growing your own beauty garden, you’ll have everything you need for a continuous supply of skincare treatments.

Use the plant list and recipes to get you started. Many of the plants you may already have growing in your garden. Many of them can also be grown in pots indoors if you live where garden space is limited.

A bath and beauty garden

The following selection of healing and aromatherapeutic plants will make a wonderful bath and beauty garden. All of these plants grow well in sunny locations. Cucumbers and luffa sponges love to climb; position them near a simple trellis or fence so they will have something to hang on to. A good rule of thumb when planting seeds is to make a hole that is double the length of the seed. Some of the herbs such as lavender, rosemary, sage, and mint can be purchased as plants or propagated from stem cuttings of existing plants.

Calendula (Calendula officinalis). This hardy annual plant seems to bloom continuously with bright, cheerful yellow or orange flowers. The flower petals act as skin cleansers and softeners when added to creams, lotions, and baths. Calendula is also a soothing antiseptic and excellent skin conditioner. Create a simple lip balm by combining equal parts of calendula petals, coconut oil, and cocoa butter. Heat gently until the cocoa butter melts, then strain into a clean container and cool completely.

Cucumber (Cucumis sativus). This vegetable has been used as a beauty aid for centuries. One classic cure is to place cucumber slices over the eyelids to soothe puffy eyes. You can also add cucumber juice to creams and lotions. It makes a soothing cure for sunburned skin and insect bites. Cucumbers tend to dislike cold soil, so wait for three to four weeks after the last frost before planting them in the garden.

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