Using Versatile Lavender in Your Yard

Fragrant, lavender is a perennial favorite

Lavender (L. angustifolia)

Lavender has been around since the beginning of time and its uses range from perfume to antiseptic dressings for war wounds. Among it's many qualities, it's easily grown in most areas of the United States and can provide a wonderful old-fashioned touch to a cottage garden or architectural interest with its mounded forms in a contemporary garden.

The scent alone is enough to entice many gardeners. Lavender flowers can be cut and dried for indoor arrangements, sprinkled in bath water for a relaxing bath, or dried and tied into sachets for closets and drawers. Culinary varieties can be used in tea or used in compresses for headaches and sinus congestion. For the ambitious gardener or craftsperson, the array of uses for lavender is limited only by imagination.

Using lavender with other plants

Lavender, when combined with old roses, provides a feast for the eye and nose. The heirloom rose, Souvenier de la Malmaison, and a mounded lavender like L. Angustifolia "Hidcote" are delightful companions from June through September. Lavenders tend to be relatively low growing compared with roses, and so provide good ground cover.

Another nice combination is peony and lavender. Peonies tend to bloom slightly earlier than lavender, so the lavender really provides a backdrop and contrast with the dark green foliage and spectacular peony blossoms.

Combining lavenders with other herbs or foliage plants provide other natural complements. There are a wide range of lavenders with different types of flowers and foliage ranging from sage green to silver gray. Combining varieties allows for a very attractive arrangement and a perfect bee and butterfly garden. Add hyssop, rue, silver curry or the silvery coral of lavender cotton for an herb corner. Combine dwarf forms of English lavender with low growing rosemary. Or, in a large tub, plant 'Munstead' together with a prostrate rosemary and scented geraniums.

Use smaller, mound-forming English lavenders to make edging plants. Consider massing them to create a large silvery bank topped with hundreds of short lavender spikes. Varieties you might include might be white 'Nana Alba', pink 'Melissa', lavender blue 'Maillette' and 'Martha Roderick', and dark purple 'Baby Blue'.

The Spanish lavenders (stoechas) with their pinecone shaped flowers and silver foliage make great specimen plants. Their silver foliage blends well and provides a pleasing contrast with the claret-color flowers of anise hyssops.

For any garden in which the dominant color is silver, grey, and green, lavender is an easy, and beautiful, addition.

A note about cultivation

Lavenders are drought-tolerant, and grow well in zones 5–9, but have a few essential requirements.

Landscaping with lavender

Use lavender to create borders, low hedges, a knot or herb garden. There are many more options than those listed of course.

For slopes, use terracing and add water in the form of a small pond, a small fountain, or just a large container in which to float flowers. Fill the terraces with fragrant Mediterranean plants such as lavender, rosemary, germander, curry, sage, marjoram, oregano, the thymes.

Resources

Read more about lavender at LavenderEnchantment.com .

Books

The Lavender Garden: Beautiful Varieties to Grow and Gather —Great source of information from cultivation to recipes, history and species. Beautiful pictures too.


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