Lavender is a beautiful plant that looks great in virtually any garden. There are 39 species of the genus. Here I am going to tell you about one of my favourites – Hidcote Lavender.
This is a purple lavender with a traditional look and aroma. It grows tall, with the violet purple flowers growing on long stems from a dense bush. Each stem is between 3 and 4cms in length. The leaves are a rich green rather than silvery, but none the less still beautiful providing a welcome splash of green in the winter months and flowers for much of the summer.
This is a strong variety, which will grow well in all but the coldest climates. Hidcote Lavender can be planted in most soils including chalk and loam, but it has to be well drained.
The plant matures relatively slowly, but it will flower in the first year. Once mature each plant will be up to 50cms in height.
Generally, the bushes mature within 2 to 5 years. How quickly they mature depends greatly on the type of soil you have and the quality of the water in your area.
Where to Plant
There really is no end to how you can use lavender in the garden. The Hidcote variety is particularly versatile. It can be kept low with trimming, which means that it can even be used as edging for a border. However, most people plant it towards the back of their borders and use it as a backdrop for other plants.
It can also be used as hedging to separate different areas of the garden. In the city, it is a very popular courtyard plant. This variety of lavender grows well in pots, but does need regular watering.
Caring for Hidcote Lavender
This plant pretty much looks after itself. You just need to prune it. However, you should prune it twice a year. This encourages a denser bush.
Normally, it has all but finished flowering in August, so this is when you should prune it. Then in late February prune off any stragglers. When you trim it in August cut it back hard take off all of the flower stems and between 5 and 10cms of foliage. The bushes will look bare for about a month, but before the winter sets in some leaves will come in providing beautiful pillows of green to brighten up your garden.
Keep an eye out for rosemary leaf beetle or cuckoo spit and treat it as soon as you see it. Apart from that, lavender is normally pest free, but you have to keep an eye out for grey mould and treat that as soon as it appears.
When to Plant
It is best to buy pot-grown plants from a garden centre that you know and trust. You should buy and plant it in the spring and plant them out as soon as you get them. This will give the plants a chance to establish themselves and increase the chances of them flowering in the first year.