I have never read in a gardening book anywhere that a lavender hedge is a beautiful thing in winter. Well, our was yesterday morning. Like most of you, we had a cracker of a frost the night before last. Combined with quite dense fog, it left a coating of white on everything - a huge beech at the bottom of the garden was glittering from head to foot.
And the lavender plants in the hedge around the rose border were simply stunning. I am not sure how the physics work here, but they were not so much frosted as coated with crystals, some as much as 1/2" long. The hedge itself is pretty compact, not much more than 35cms tall and about the same across, but with the sun shining it was a lavender hedge, encrusted in diamonds, that simply dominated a garden full of good stuff.
Which in a roundabout way leads me on to the thought for the next week or two. If you are planning on buying lavender plants to make a hedge or an edge spare a thought for ground preparation. Our lavender plants will happily survive the beautiful cold, because they are in a really well drained bed. Cold and dry is OK, cold and wet is a killer.
So when the frost has gone, and the ground is soft again, go and work off some Christmas excess by really digging over the ground where your lavender will (generally) beautify your garden all through the summer. Get out any perennial weeds, stones, roots and the like. Work in masses of well rotted compost and add plenty of horticultural sand or grit if your ground is a bit claggy. Dig it over now and it will have plenty of time to settle before you get round to planting in April or May.
Don't plant until late April - lavender plants like the soil to be a bit warmer than it is in March and they will grow away better as a result. And just as it did for the last day of 2008, it will light up your garden all through summer, although its blue will be somewhat warmer than it was two days ago.
Sit back and watch your plants grow!