looking after lavender
I love the smell of lavender and the vibrancy of the purple flowers. I love the hoards of pollinating bees they attract into the garden. I wouldn’t be without my one lavender bush yet I’ve never given much thought to how to look after my lavender. After several of years of being left to it’s own devices I hacked the thin and straggly branches down to the ground in the spring, almost certain my neglect had killed it off anyway. It has proved to be my greatest teacher about the importance of pruning to encourage healthy growth. Better late than never I’ve learnt the wisdom of pruning until you feel like crying then taking off another inch!
L to R: Most of the woody growth at the back of the bush has died off and all the growth you can see in the rejeuvenated bush is from a couple of the larger stems. Weeks without rain had dried the fragrant flowers out naturally and I spent a blissful hour last weekend collecting the flower heads in anticipation of this week’s downpours. The smell of lavender is so soothing especially when freshly picked and I’d lost the vigour for doing anything else on the plot once the task of looking after the lavender was completed.
3 shades of lavender: the browning stalks were left scattered on the ground, the lilac coloured dried flower heads were saved for scenting and the purple flower heads were made into posies with cuttings from the rosemary bush.
Lavender’s an evergreen plant and needs it’s leaves to protect it through the winter: come spring my seccateurs will be out again to give it a more severe trim. I’d like to cultivate some more plants from softwood cuttings but need to wait for warmer spring weather to do that. If I had somewhere to overwinter seedlings I’d be tempted to try growing lavender from seed.