Tough but beau­ti­ful laven­der

The Gazette (Derwent Valley) - - NEWS - with Richard Hole

LAVEN­DER would be one plant nearly ev­ery gar­dener — novice or ex­pe­ri­enced — would recog­nise.

Laven­ders have been cul­ti­vated for hun­dreds of years. Gar­den­ers look­ing for a hardy wa­ter­wise plant with great fra­grance should con­sider adding a few laven­ders to their land­scape.

This hardy group of plants can pro­vide flow­ers in colours rang­ing from white, blues and pinks through to deep pur­ple. The sil­very tones of the fo­liage also look great all year round.

Laven­der can be very easy to grow. It re­quires a sunny po­si­tion and well-drained soil. If you have a heavy clay soil, it is im­por­tant to add gyp­sum to the soil and plant into mounded beds.

While laven­der will grow hap­pily in poor, low-nu­tri­ent soils, flow­er­ing and gen­eral health will be greatly im­proved by reg­u­lar ap­pli­ca­tions of a seaweed-based liq­uid feed.

Af­ter the ini­tial es­tab­lish­ment pe­riod, laven­der is usu­ally very drought tol­er­ant but ad­di­tional wa­ter should be given dur­ing ex­tended dry pe­ri­ods. Pests and dis­eases are usu­ally few and far between when grown cor­rectly.

Laven­ders are very well suited to grow­ing in pots, look­ing right at home in ter­ra­cotta tubs in a court­yard or on a deck.

To pro­long the life of the plant and to keep it look­ing at­trac­tive, it is im­por­tant to prune. Lightly prune off old flower spikes af­ter they are fin­ished, but never cut into old wood.

Laven­der is great for cut­ting and bring­ing flow­ers into the house, where they can be used dried for fra­grance.

The many flow­ers pro­duced by laven­der make it an ideal plant to grow near the veg­etable patch or near fruit trees. Bees can­not re­sist laven­der and will help pol­li­nate your veg­gie plants and fruit trees as they visit.

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