Six reasons to love Lavender for Mediterranean magnificence and aromatic perfection
If theres just one herb you should have in a garden, Lavender
comes top. Its small enough to squeeze into a courtyard, a balcony and even a window box. It will give you far more value than just about any other plant. Why?
Here's just six reasons to love lavender. But there are more!
The lavender harvest makes a great photo opportunity. You can just imagine the delightful aroma.
Mounds of lavender have a most pleasing form and some people even cut off the flower stalks to keep the shape tight.
- Firstly, the foliage smells wonderfully aromatic and of course the flowers have scent that has been used by us for centuries.
- Secondly, the blooms attract beneficial garden insects including bees, butterflies and other pollinators that will also help in the kitchen garden.
- Third on the list of desirable features is the fact that it looks so good. This plant can be shaped into mounds and some people even prevent it from flowering so that it maintains a pleasing form.
Try using lavender for you health. It has multiple benefits - and it's free!
- Next, is the fact that lavender is drought-tolerant, once established. Its easy to grow provided its not situated in waterlogged soil. Whats more, rabbits and deer dont like to eat it. This is a great bonus in a country garden.
- Then we come to health. The plant is often used in herbal preparations and can form a treatment for anxiety, depression and for those who have difficulty sleeping.
The healing properties of lavender flowers are now widely known.
Different lavender varieties
- It's a medicinal marvel too. Lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and can help to heal minor burns and to cleanse minor wounds. It repels insects that enjoy biting humans and can therefore be a great plant to position around the eating table.
There are dozens of different lavender varieties and they all tend to flower at different times of summer. Right now, in August, many are on their second show of flowers, whilst others are nearing the end of their display.
Here are just three varieties of lavender that are available to purchase from Perfectplants.co.uk, but there are many more.
Most people agree that English lavender is just about the best for flower use. Lavandula angustifolia
(formerly L. officinalis) and its multitude of cultivars has given us many different colours and heights, all sharing the most delectable scent. It has a lovely, bushy shape with silvery green leaves and can grow up to one metre high.
Lavender 'Hidcote' is a great version of Lavender angustifolia, and many people love its deep purple flowers.
Lavandula 'Hidcote' is a form of L. angustifolia which is loved particularly for its deep purple flowers which contrast so well with the grey foliage. It's a smaller plant too, topping out at about 60cm, and some say that the flowers are not so scented.
Lavender 'Munstead' is a great edging plant and looks wonderful along paths or framing the top of a wall.
Meanwhile, L 'Munstead'
is a smaller variety still, reaching around 45cm and having beautiful blue flowers with a wonderful scent. This compact plant is named after Gertrude Jekyll's garden at Munstead Wood and it makes a great edging plant for paths and is good in pots too.
Dutch and French Lavender
French lavender has a most distinctive flower which looks as if it has a little topknot.
There are around 25 different species of Lavandula
in cultivation and it might surprise you to learn that they can have blue, purple, pink
or white flowers. Hardiest are English and Dutch varieties. The Dutch lavender is Lavandula x intermedia, including the popular L. 'Grosso', which has aromatic foliage and violet flowers in summer. The slightly more tender French lavender
sometimes needs a little winter protection in colder areas. Lavandula stoechas tend to be more compact and bushy, producing shorter flower spikes topped with intensely fragrant flowers which have a distinctive 'quiff'.
There's almost nothing better than a spray of freshly cut lavender.
Harvesting of flowers can take place between June and September and generally the earlier, the better. Trimming early helps the plant to maintain a good shape and a lavender plant should easily last for around 10 years if it is regularly pruned, so you are doing it a favour. Just make sure you leave some green growth on the main plant as it wont generally re-grow if you cut into old woody stems. Cut flowers on a dry morning. Draw into a bundle, tie, then hang them up to dry for about a week.
How and where to use lavender
Fresh, organic and healthy. Pick your own lavender and make something that will be good for your health.
The versatile flowers have so many uses. Here are six simple suggestions:
A beautiful lavender wreath will last for many weeks.
- Infuse the flower heads in sweet almond, avocado or hemp oil in order to make a healthy and stress-relieving massage oil. Its simple. Just half fill a jar with lavender flowers, then fill the jar to the top with oil. Shake the jar regularly over the course of a few weeks in order to infuse the scent. Then strain, and your oil is ready to use.
- A bundle of tied lavender together with other aromatic foliage such as Eucalyptus, mint and rosemary, makes a great shower companion. In the humid air it will release scent and make the room smell amazing.
- Use lavender flowers in cakes and cooking. You can sprinkle some flower seeds on scones with jam. They are edible and impart a wonderful, subtle aroma and taste.
- Make a lavender wreath to hang on your wall. The smell will waft around your home for ages.
Making a lavender bag is so easy. Just fill a cloth with dried lavender seeds, tie the top and it will scent your wardrobe for years.
- Infuse some lavender in water and use it as a linen spray. It will make sheets smell fresh and clean.
- Dry lavender and pop it into cloth bags to leave in the wardrobe. It keeps moths away.
You can purchase many different types of lavender from:
Perfect Plants Ltd is an on-line supplier of garden plants, house plants, garden equipment, furniture and gifts for all seasons www.perfectplants.co.uk