Lavandula sp. (Lavender)
A fantastic plant that reminds most people of hot sunny days, with its fragrant flowers and foliage. It’s great as an herb, has medicinal purposes (see below) and attracts all the wonderful pollinating insects to the garden including bees.
There are many types including English (L. angustifolia), the two most popular varieties are Hidcote and Munstead. There is also Dutch and French (L. stoechas / L. pedunculata) types too. French Lavender is easily differentiated by the little ears on the top of each flower-head.
Classed as an evergreen shrub means it stays green all year round with a stunning show of flowers from May through until September.
All the different types prefer full sun in a well-drained soil. It is a drought tolerant plant that will thrive in any sunny border, container, herb or gravel garden. It can also be grown as an informal hedge. If putting in a container use John Innes no.3 with added grit mixed in. Feed at the beginning of the season with Growmore or Fish, blood and bonemeal to give the plants a boost and water it in.
English Lavender is the hardiest for more northerly and exposed gardens. If your soil is especially heavy, add potting grit and John Innes no.3 to the plant hole. In clay soils, Lavenders can suffer from root rot if the soil stays wet during the summer months.
Pruning couldn’t be simpler: prune just above the old growth once flowering has finished. This can be done with hedging shears to make it easier.
Keep the flower stems and dry them upside down in a bunch from your shed ceiling and put the dried flower-heads into pillowcases to aid sleeping. It can also help you rewind and relax and it is also believed to help aid anxiety too.