Growing Lavender

Growing Lavender

One of our most popular shrubs and a real gardeners favorite is lavender,it’s an excellent shrub to grow in all gardens, be it in containers or beds, their flowers are rich in pollen and nectar to attract bees and plenty of other beneficial insects and produce seeds which are attractive to birds & gold finches in particular.

 It’s easy to see why it’s so popular, lavender has a long flowering period from early to mid summer onwards and along with having evergreen foliage they make a very versatile and valuable shrub. They can find a home in a traditional cottage garden scheme or can be used in a contemporary garden setting - depending on how they are used and what plants are used alongside them. 

The English varieties of lavender tend to be a bit hardier and somewhat longer lasting and maybe marginally more attractive to bees. Lavender angustifolia is the name to look out for, usually followed by a variety name - Lavender angustifolia Hidcote for example. Munstead, Essence Purple, Vera are other examples of English varieties worth growing.

When growing lavender choose a nice sunny location with good drainage and they are happy in neutral or alkaline soil types. They will grow in nice rich soil but can also cope in poor soil - good drainage is one of the key factors - so dig in plenty of compost and horticultural grit when planting. If you are growing some of the less hardy French varieties you can consider growing them in a more sheltered area or growing in pots so you can move them inside if there is a severe winter - again plenty of good drainage material if you are growing them in pots - Lavender can look particularly good in terracotta pots. Adding a small handful of bonemeal when planting will be of benefit and help them set up a good root structure.

Prune your lavender plants when they finish flowering - usually at the end of Summer, around August or September - give them a good cutting back but not into old wood as this would affect next year's flowering. Cutting back your lavender will keep it tidy and prevent it getting too leggy and woody at the base. You can also give them a trim in April to maintain a nice compact plant. You can take cuttings from lavender in late Summer, selecting a non-flowering stem of about 4 or 5 inches with some woody material at the base and some new growth at the top.

So lots of good reasons for growing lavender in your garden be that in pots or beds and you can sit back on a Summers evening enjoying the fragrance and listening to the buzzing bees.

A few jobs for the week ahead;

  • Check any recently planted trees or shrubs that they are getting well watered and any bareroot trees planted over the winter months should also receive plenty of water
  • It’s time to start planting or at least planning your window boxes and hanging baskets - there’s loads of fabulous colourful options  to go for that will flower all Summer long and even into the Autumn
  • Lots of vegetable and salad plants available and ready to plant now - huge selection of edible plants and seeds
  • Apply some lawn care - a feed weed and moss killer to improve your lawn will have a quick reaction with the bit of rain we have promised this week
  • Prune spring shrubs, such as forsythia and chaenomeles, after flowering to keep them compact
  • Plant summer-flowering bulbs into pots for bright, colourful displays all Summer
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