Grow your own spa treats!

Treat yourself to a home spa boost by growing plants packed with essential oils and mood-boosting aromas.

Loofahs and lavender can both be grown in the garden

by Liz Potter |

Treat yourself to a home spa boost by growing plants packed with essential oils and mood-boosting aromas. At the National Trust’s Knightshayes Court in Devon, the gardening team has been growing loofahs, which are ideal as a gentle skin exfoliator for your home spa (though at Knightshayes they use them in the kitchen as pan scourers!)

• Loofahs are a relative of the cucumber and need plenty of heat to ripen: sow in late March in a heated propagator (or airing cupboard) to help germination, and grow on in a greenhouse or conservatory. Pot up into large containers and provide some support, then harvest in late autumn when they start to toughen. Peel the skin off and rinse away the flesh to leave the fibrous skeleton. Wash in warm water and leave to dry. Luffa seeds cost £2.99/15 seeds at Suttons 0844 736 4208; www.suttons.co.uk

Grow Luffas from seeds - £2.99 for 15 at Suttons
Grow Luffas from seeds - £2.99 for 15 at Suttons

• Lavender flowers and rose petals can be dried and added to a warm bath where their soothing, fragrant oils will be released. Or, sew some fabric sachets and fill with dried lavender flowers, then place them under your pillow to promote sleep. Plants cost from £8.99 at J Parkers 0161 848 1100; www.jparkers.co.uk

• Calendulas contain compounds said to nourish the skin. To harness them, infuse olive or almond oil with a handful of the petals in a sealed jar for 4-6 weeks, then strain off the petals. The oil can be used as a body moisturiser. £1.95/125 seeds Sarah Raven 0345 092 0283_; www.sarahraven.com_

• Cucumbers can be grown at home to make a soothing face mask mixed with natural yoghurt. £1/12 seeds from Thompson & Morgan 0333 400 0033; www.thompson-morgan.com

• Lemon verbena As you let your face mask and beauty oils work their magic, sip a tisane of this zesty herb with fabulous lemon sherbert-scented foliage, which aids digestion and restful sleep. £5.99 from Crocus 01344 578 000_; www.crocus.co.uk_

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