Lavender plants make a lovely addition to a garden, patio or balcony as they have great flowers, attractive evergreen foliage and contribute a fantastic scent. They are one of only a few plants sold for culinary use that look good and grow well outside the kitchen garden as well as in it. And we grow the best, and hardiest, English Lavenders for garden and culinary use. It may be a small shrub, but Lavender is one of the most effective hedging and edging plants for all that. Choose from blue, pink and white flowered lavender in a range of sizes - all of which should be planted (if you want a hedge) at 3 per metre. Munstead Lavender is named after Gertrude Jekyll’s garden at Munstead Wood in Surrey. It has a beautiful slender bluish-purple flower. A slightly more compact form than Hidcote, it is thought to be better in windy and coastal areas. Hidcote Lavender is from Lawrence Johnson’s garden at Hidcote Manor in Gloucestershire. It is the deepest purple variety and produces lovely plump flowers over a dense mound of foliage growing to around 60cm high. Alba and Rosea are the pink and white forms of Lavandula angustifolia (English Lavender) and are as well suited to our climate as their better know blue cousins.
Queen Victoria was a lover of lavender as a scent, and it became very fashionable with the ladies of the day which led to English lavender becoming a profitable industry with the main growing areas being just south of London, around Merton. Sadly the rise in land prices after the First World War pushed the growers out of business so now most commercial lavender growing is in Provence where the vast expanses of purple and blue in summer have become an iconic image and are a huge tourist attraction.
Lavender plants make a lovely addition to a garden, patio or balcony as they have great flowers, attractive evergreen foliage and contribute a fantastic scent. They are one of only a few plants sold for culinary use that look good and grow well outside the kitchen garden as well as in it.
As all varieties grow into thick little ornamental hedges lavender make an excellent edge to a rose border or herb or vegetable garden. If you've got straight lines in your garden, and you'd like to soften them, then Lavender as low-level hedging is a really great addition to blur the line of terraces or paths as well as bringing colour, structure and scent to your garden, Even better, Lavender is beautiful from spring to autumn and tidies up nicely for the winter.
All lavender plants love dryish, windy places in the sun and none enjoy being damp. The best time to plant lavender is into warm soil, usually from late April/early May through to early August (depending on our ‘characterful’ climate!).
Being of Mediterranean origin, lavender plants thrive in a poor, free draining soil in full sun. A heavy or clay soil can be improved by adding matter to help drainage, such as leaf mould and gravel. If drainage is suspect a good tip is to create mounds of soil to plant into, which keeps the base of the plants above any excessively wet ground.
When planting a lavender hedge, plant on a ridge and allow 3 plants per metre (one every 33cms). Pruning should be carried out every autumn, in order to keep plants looking bushy and healthy. It involves careful clipping of the foliage, back to around 2cm of new growth. Lavenders do not take kindly to hard pruning, so cutting back into old woody growth should be avoided. A bit of commitment to dead-heading your lavender regularly through the season will encourage plenty of repeat flowering. And who would argue with that!
Lavender Hedging - How to plant an English Lavender Hedge
Lavender Hedging - How to trim a Lavender Hedge
All About Lavender
Vita Sackville-West, chatelaine of Sissinghurst, suggests in her Garden Book that all gardeners should have “the good sense to grow lavender along paths or in a clump by your front door so that you can pinch the leaves as you go past”. It is hard to gainsay such good advice. Lavender...