Who doesn't love Lavender? Used since time immemorial as a medicinal herb, an insect repellent, an aromatic oil and a general all round house-hold essential especially when there was a bit of strewing* to be done. The Romans and Greeks used Lavender when bathing and that is the origin of the botanical name Lavandula (la-van-dew-la) which comes from the Latin word lavare meaning to bathe or wash. Lavender's natural home is the Mediterranean region, the Middle East and India.
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Believe it or not the much loved English Lavender does not come from England at all. It was probably introduced by a conqueror who like to smell nice and wouldn't travel anywhere without his favourite herb. History tells us that Lavender grew in England from about 1265 onwards. Talking of smelling nice Lavender is one of the main ingredients in the world famous Eau de Cologne, 4711, named after the street number of the 18th century inventor of "water from Cologne".
Lavender has a strong biblical connection too; it is mentioned several times under the name 'Spikenard'. Spikenard i.e. Lavender Oil was a precious and expensive commodity and it is written that Mary used this oil to anoint the feet of Jesus.
There are about 30 species of Lavender. They are described variously has shrubs, sub shrubs, herbs, or herbaceous perennials. They all have highly aromatic foliage and flowers but it is Lavandula angustifolia and its various cultivars that is the most popular for the production of Lavender Oil. The pungent oil is collected from the oil glands at the base of the flower spikes. Lavenders are generally short lived and in their natural habitat the volatile oil can cause spontaneous combustion which means they would be very short lived indeed!
All Lavenders are sun lovers and they prefer to grow in well drained soil. They will grow happily with little or no fertilizer. Lavenders are best trimmed after flowering. If you wish the discarded flowers can be dried for pot pourri etc. Bees love Lavender flowers so make sure you plant a couple of bushes near the vegetable plot or orchard for pollination purposes. Great for hedging or edging, perfect in the perennial border and lovely in a pot. Love Lavender? We certainly do.
*Lavender was strewed throughout houses during the Great Plague of London (1665) as it was thought to be a protection against disease.
Lavandula. Bright violet blue flowers on long "pickable" stems and an intense perfume make this Lavender one to add to your collection. Easy to grow in a warm well drained position. Trim after flowering to encourage strong healthy new growth. Suitable for drying. Evergreen. RHS AGM.
Colour: Purple / Blue Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 80cm x 80cm
Lavandula. This is a stunning 'English' hybrid lavender which is both tall and sturdy. With large aromatic grey foliage and long stems of intensely aromatic purple flower heads it is a very desirable plant. Plant in a sunny well drained position. Evergreen.
Lavender 'Dilly Dilly' can be grown as a hedge or used in the border for colour and fragrance. Lavender flowers are great for attracting bees to the garden so they ideal to plant near the vegetable garden to assist with pollination.
Colour: Purple Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 45cm x 40cm
Lavandula. An 'English' type Lavender with deliciously aromatic foliage and flowers. The grey leaves are off set by dark purple flower heads that appear from summer through to early autumn. Makes a lovely hedge. Trims well (after flowering). Plant in a sunny well drained position.
After trimming your Lavender dry the flower heads to use for potpourri. Top tip - put dried Lavender in the vacuum cleaner bag to perfume your whole home and keep the vacuum smelling sweet.
Colour: Purple Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 70cm
Lavandula. Lavender Hybrid. A popular Lavender that produces abundance of long stemmed, dark lavender flower heads through-out the summer. These are used commercially for dried flowers and oil production. Just lovely in the garden and will help attract bees. Evergreen.
'Grosso' is probably one of the most deliciously fragrant of all the Lavenders available to gardeners' today. Well worth planting just for the fragrance alone.
Colour: Mauve Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 80cm x 80cm
Lavandula. Named after one of England's finest gardens this lovely little English Lavender has intensely aromatic foliage and flowers. The deep purple flowers appear on fine stems in summer. Happiest in a sunny well drained position. Trim after flowering. Evergreen. RHS AGM.
Colour: Purple Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
Lavandula. Lavender 'Major' is one of the most popular Lavenders sold in NZ and there's a good reason for that. The plump purple flower heads appear in abundance from early spring through to late summer. It performs well, looks good and clips well. Happiest in a sunny well drained spot. Evergreen.
Use for low hedges, container planting, topiary work or just plant amongst your other treasures in the mixed border. A great little Mediterranean lavender that seldom disappoints.
Colour: Purple / Mauve Habit: Upright Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 60cm
Lavandula. English Lavender. A dwarf, compact form with foliage and flowers that carry the true sweet lavender fragrance we all love. The fine, grey foliage is topped off with stalks of little lavender flower heads in the peak of summer. Trim after flowering. Loves the sun and good drainage. Evergreen.
'Munstead' is named after Munstead woods in Surrey - the home of renowned garden designer - the late Gertrude Jeckyl.
Colour: Mauve Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 30cm x 30cm
Lavandula. English Lavender. This selected form of the ever popular and very fragrant English Lavender will delight the senses with stems of intense blue-mauve flowers in the summer months. Aromatic fine grey foliage. Plant in a sunny well drained spot and trim after flowering. Evergreen.
Colour: Purple / Blue Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 45cm
Lavandula. A NZ bred form of Spanish Lavender that has a nice compact habit and flower heads of glowing purple with little tufts on the top. Use to add colour to the spring garden or perhaps consider as a low hedge. Plant in a sunny well drained position and trim lightly after flowering. Evergreen.
Colour: Purple Habit: Compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 60cm x 40cm
Lavandula. Destined to become a favourite because of its ability to bloom the first year beginning earlier in the season, typically in early summer and lasting into early autumn. The grey-green foliage forms a compact mound topped with plump, rich violet purple flower wands that are perfect for cutting for fresh and dried bouquets. Perennial.
Colour: Lavender / Blue Habit: Bushy compact Est. Hgt/Wdth in 7/10 yrs: 40cm x 40cm