Saturday, October 23, 2010


Common, or English Lavender (Lavender angustifolia) is a favorite of mine.  Not only are the flowers aromatic, but the plant itself is attractive all season long, even when not in bloom, with its dense mounds of silver-gray-blue needle-like leaves, which are evergreen (meaning they stay green all year long).  Their tiny lavender-purple, purple, pale pink,  white, or blue flowers are tiny clusters on erect spikes.  The main flush is generally early to mid-summer, but mine are, as you can see by the pictures I took yesterday, blooming again presently, so they do bloom intermittently after the main flush.  They are shrub-like, with a woody base and soft upper shoots.  Common lavender grows about 2-3 high, but low growing "Hidcote" and "Munstead", which I have only grow to 1 1/2 feet high. They like full sun--they thrive in at least 6 hours per day.  A south facing site is ideal.  They need well drained soil, in about any kind of soil you have--they are not particularly picky.  (But if you have heavy clay soil, plant on a mound or a raised bed for maximum success).  You can plant in early fall or spring.  If given full sun and well-drained soil, lavenders require only a minimum amount of care to look their best.  They handle drought well, when established.  They don't need fertilizing, and I know of no pests that bother them.  You will need to prune your lavenders annually lightly, with a hard pruning every couple years or so, so they won't get 'leggy'.  They are great in arrangements; their aromatic fragrance is especially nice.  For greatest fragrance, harvest the flower spikes just before the buds begin to open.  Cut the spikes off individually.  I dry mine by getting a bundle together and putting an elastic band around them and hanging them upside down in a dark, cool place.  When you cut off the blooms, it also encourages another bloom cycle.  I have mine in the rock garden, and they look especially nice with other summer-blooming perennials, like lamb's ear, daylilies, shrub roses, sea thrift, or other lavenders.   
Susanne Holland Spicker Mother, Grandmother, Homemaker, Gardener, Teacher, Photographer

Passion is defined as the love of, or the object(s) of affection and emotion. I am passionate about family, friends, flowers, food, photography and fabulous music! This blog is dedicated to those loves.

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