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Summary: There are so many varieties of lavender that sometimes it is confusing which ones are best in the springtime, which are the easiest to grow and which is the best lavender variety for an English garden. This mini lavender guide to the best springtime lavender will help.
Despite lavender being most commonly recognised as being the purple hued flower that is seen on perfume bottles and across gardens in the UK there are actually over four hundred recognised varieties of the plant across the world. Most are located in and around the UK and the rest of Europe and some aren’t purple or blue at all.
Lavendula, the Latin name for the thirty nine species of lavender which contains these four hundred varieties, is commonly used to refer to the blue/purple flowered lavenders as these are the most commonly seen plants. There are many names and yet the best lavender variety for an English garden is simply referred to as English lavender.
With so many varieties to choose from however it makes sense to choose the lavenders that will complement your garden best. Which you will choose will depend on what you are looking for. For culinary use (lavender is a popular ingredient in a number of cookery and baking dishes) the traditional English lavender or French lavender is preferred. For lavenders that are best suited to shrubbery gardens or larger planters Hidcote, a shorter and most hardy variety is often most popular.
For taller lavenders which add height and movement to a garden when they move in the breeze the commonly available English lavender variety is best, alongside many of the Augustifolia species.
The very best lavender nursery this spring will incorporate a number of lavender types, mixing shorter and taller varieties with various different shades of blues and purples to add interest and depth.
The thing to remember, regardless of which varieties you choose to plant this spring is to plant them right. Lavenders are extremely hardly plants and rarely suffer from blights which kill off many garden plants and flowers. All that the lavender plant asks is for the right environment to thrive in. Wet, mulchy soil is more than likely going to kill off a lavender or reduce the quality of the plant as this lovely herb prefers a rockery or dry and gravelly soil to anything else. It does not need watering or feed past the initial planting stages or in the event of a very rare beautiful UK summer. This is a self-maintaining plant which needs only to be given enough room to thrive.
For those who ask “When does lavender flower” the answer is that depending on the variety it may bloom as early as April/May and will keep flowering until late August / September time. To take advantage of this long blooming season get your lavenders in the right place, in the right soil and early enough so that you may enjoy them throughout the spring, summer and early autumn.