Weekend Inspiration ~ Lavender in the Garden

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Nothing says summer more than the elegant, silvery plant with its fragrant flowers.

by Lindsey Taylor

Lavender, or lavandula as it is known botanically, has a long and layered history. The dried form has been used for medicinal and culinary purposes since ancient times. A Mediterranean plant that loves a sunny, dry climate and well-drained soil, it is surprisingly tough and will thrive in situations outside its comfort zone — a case in point is how often it is used in English gardens.

Photo: Clive Nichols
 

If you love the look of the silvery foliage and fragrant blooms, give it a try either mixed into a sunny spot in the garden, or plant it en masse along a walkway — its foliage will help to illuminate a path in summer.

Photo: If Images
 

Lavender needs two things to flourish: sun and extremely well-drained soil. Wet soil kills lavender more often than freezing winter temperatures. Wherever you plant it, make sure you can enjoy the scent as you walk by.

Photo: Rob Cardillo
 

Try a container on its own, like here, or mix it with like-minded sun worshippers.

Photo: Rob Cardillo
 

There are over 200 varieties, and most nurseries will carry at least one or two. Take note of the maximum height of each variety as some are taller then others, which can make a difference where you choose to plant.

Photo: Gemma Ingalls
 

In New York City, where I live, I grow the classic and tall Lavandula x intermedia “Provence” on my 11th floor south-facing terrace. I planted it in containers mixed with dianthus and edible sages, and I can see it through my living room window all summer long.

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