The more traditional lavender varieties are the easiest to grow in the UK, especially the old favourite Lavendula angustifolia. The varieties of this plant are much hardier than their French counterparts and withstand heavy traffic as people pass by releasing their wonderful fragrance with every brush.
A Lavender for Everyone
The Lavendula angustifolia plant includes many well-known types of lavender such as the Munstead (ideal when planted as a low growing dividing hedge or around paths and borders), the Hidcote and Imperial Gem.
French lavender also complements these varieties perfectly however with uncertain climate changes they need a little more care to survive our unpredictable seasons.
Tender Care of a Hardy Plant
The lavendula angustifolia thrives in a well-drained soil, just like any other perennial herb such as chives, rosemary and parsley it does not grow well if waterlogged. Therefore it is best to plant them in a raised bed, in pots with broken pottery for drainage, or in stony ground. With a little care they can inhabit almost any part of the garden as long as they have access to plenty of sunlight and are able to release excess water.
A mistake many people make is planting them too close together. This is very tempting as once you have decided on lavender for your garden you may desire the instant fragrance. These plants are also very affordable making it easy to buy in bulk, however after a year they can grow to a good two foot across so to make the most of the perennial you must bear this in mind when planting, otherwise they won’t have enough space to spread.
Be Vicious with the Clippers
After flowering, lavendula angustifolia such as Hidcote responds well to being cut back. This needs to be quite severe in order to prompt it to conserve energy for producing new shoots the following spring. Cut back all woody stems to about 2-3 inches, it will soon grow again as soon as the season is warm enough. Some people recommend removing a third of the plant, leaving on the seed heads for the goldfinches to feast on. This also seems to work well as once pruned (preferably in late August) new shoots will appear before the plant goes to sleep for the winter, giving it an attractive appearance throughout the winter months.
Pruning is certainly the key to this perennial to keep it looking tidy, bushy and well cared for, however if your plant does become straggly or woody it is probably best to replace it. Some gardeners like to replace their lavendula angustifolia once every twenty years however with good care this is not always necessary.
The plants attract all kinds of wildlife during their flowering season in the summer, bumble bees butterflies and birds all adore the English lavender and in the 1700’s this species was the main ingredient for all lavender oils that were produced. However no longer is it seen as just a traditional country garden plant, it also plays a part on many contemporary designs as highlighted at the Chelsea Flower show, renowned for its compact growing habit and lush green foliage.
This is a guest post from Corina Ramirez, she is professional writer and technical guru, she loves to write and share his opinions with others. Blogging is her passion.