April 03, 2013
There are actually thirty nine species of Lavendula (the botanical name for lavender) and altogether approximately four hundred varieties around the world. Many people assume that lavender is a French plant however it is found in a multitude of places.
When looking for the ideal type of lavender to grow in an English garden it is first important to know a little about the lavender plant, what it likes and what it doesn’t.
European lavender plants such as the hardy English lavender or the Spanish lavender plant are usually coloured with the distinctive purple/blue hue that lavender is well known for. There are of course many other types of lavender such as the black or yellow lavenders which are seen in more exciting places however for the English cottage garden, traditional wins over every time.
All European lavender plants dislike being over-wet and therefore need to be reasonably sheltered from downpours and to be planted in sandy or gravelled soil. Lavenders are indeed ideal rockery plans which work well in a rockery / kitchen garden or somewhere similar to this which is fairly sheltered. Rockery gardens provide a great way to filter away the excess moisture that lavenders dislike.
Being extremely hardy the French lavender plant, English lavender plant and of course the previously mentioned Spanish lavender are all vulnerable to one thing in the main and that is the risk of root rot that comes from becoming too wet. Otherwise fairly invulnerable any of the lavenders would make an ideal addition to an English country garden as they seem able to thrive despite the ever-changing weather.
Lavender is not only hardy, it is almost self-maintaining. Any of these lavender bushes will grow around the year, flowering from usually March to late September and then will die off before re-flowering again the next spring. All of this occurs without any human intervention however there are two ways in which lavender may need a little aid.
When first planting new lavender in the garden using gravelly mulch is a perfect starting point and will enable the plant to prosper and in turn become strong enough to be self-maintaining the future. The only other support as such the lavender plant needs is to be cut back every four to five years to avoid the plant becoming brackish. Taking a few minutes every few years to tidy the plant will ensure it continues to grow well in order to be enjoyed in the garden.
It is safe to say that if planted properly in a sheltered place in the correct gravelly soil and with the reach of sunlight, when it decides to arrive again, that any of the French, English or Spanish lavenders would not only thrive; they would look great and add colour, scent and height to borders in any English garden.
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