What woman doesn't love lavender? Their color and scent drench our senses in beauty and today's guest author is an expert on lavender.
I’ve always dreamed of a drive filled with every lavender available, and as their different heights are brushed against as visitors try to navigate their way backwards from our home, their last memory of their time spent with us would be of calm, serene scents that lift the mood and relax the senses.
There are so many lavender plugs on the market that one could easily fill the borders and hedgerows with an array of varieties and a fantastic display would be guaranteed. Known for its relaxing properties, lavender was one of the first herbs to be used as aromatherapy, as people realized its healing powers with migraines, insomnia and stress.
Lavender has recently become popular in cooking too, it seems there are no limits to its talents. And although it may sound strange at first, try adding some to the oil for roast potatoes, or a few of the purple heads in a vanilla madeira cake, and you’ll soon see what the fuss is about.
There are so many to choose from sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. Each lavender has its own benefits and some will grow quickly, and others prefer a more leisurely pace. However, here is a small guide to the three most popular lavenders in today’s garden centers.
French Lavender (or Stoechas) – it comes in many different forms, usually with spearmint rosemary-like leaves with a seed head and small tufty flowers on the top. A spectrum of colors ranging from purple to red gives off a most wonderful scent, and when not left to go woody and straggly, is an attractive plant in a pot, a hanging basket or a border.
Common Lavender (or Angustifolia) – there are many varieties of this plant. Usually it's grown as an ornamental plant and has spiky leaves with wonderful blooms that are anything but common. It can grow to 2 meters but petite versions are available which reach heights of just 35cm.
Dutch Lavender (or Intermedia) – ideal for hedging as it grows very tall. The bright colored leaves are a fresh green and are topped with purple heads which give off a distinct soft aroma.
All lavender is best planted now in September/October when the ground is still warm, which gives them a chance to become established before the harsh winter. For young plug plants in their first year, it may be worth planting them straight into a pot that can be moved to a greenhouse or even indoors if the temperatures drop well below freezing.
Whatever your taste in perennial plants, there’s a lavender for everyone!
This post was written by Martina Mercer who loves to experiment with lavender plug plants and other herbaceous perennials.