Lavandula – Lavender
Sweet Lavender is one of the well-beloved, fragrant plants of the old-fashioned garden. It was a favorite because of its delicate odor. Lavender (Lavandula vera) grows from 1 1/2 feet to 3 feet high, has downy, silvery gray foliage and long spikes of blue lavender flowers. It blooms from July through September and produces flowers very freely. There are two dwarfer varieties: L. nana compacta with large blue flowers, and the Munstead Lavender with dark blue flowers, both of which grow 12 inches high and bloom several weeks earlier than the type. L. spica, the common Lavender, is dwarfer and has light colored flowers.
UTILIZE. Many people make small sachet bags to put among linens by drying the leaves and flowers in the Summertime. Because of the gray foliage, Lavender is used to great advantage in borders. It is also grown for low hedges, or on dry banks and in the rock garden. The flowers are good for cutting.
GENERAL. Lavender requires a sunny situation and light soil. Slight protection during the Winter months is also needed.
PRUNING. Lavender is a relatively easy plant to prune. The best time to start is within the second half of August. All you need to do is cut it back by two thirds, cutting into the bare wood is fine to do if it is needed, lavender is normally very forgiving. New shoots will appear quickly at the base of the bush, and will have plenty of time to grow and harden up by the time winter comes around.
PROPAGATION. Young plants are easily started from seeds sown early in the Spring. They should not be sown too deeply, and after the plants appear, they should be kept shaded and moist until real strong.