looking after lavender

October 11, 2009 at 10:00 am 10 comments

lavender and rosemary posy*

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!MOSAIC - lavender bush

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.  lavender_3 degrees

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 dried top view *

lavender posies on table

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.

Entry filed under: allotment tales. Tags: .

swapping and sampling preserves flowering vegetables

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mangocheeks  |  October 11, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I can just about smell your lavender through the screen.Lovely.

    Funny we allotment owners seem to be carrying out similar tasks. Only last night did I put all my lavender into a jar. Looking forward to making some lovely nibbles in the near future, or just occasionally sticking my nose into the jar, just to get a natual High! high! high!

  • 2. Ann  |  October 11, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Beautiful picture of the lavender, I love it and use it a lot in my sewing. I’ve grown lavender from seed, it’s fairly easy but I’ve never pruned it so the plants end up straggly or my dog pees on them and kills them.

  • 3. Don  |  October 11, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    A few years ago we visited the Lavender Fields at Snowshill. We were told that to stop a bush from getting very woody you should take shears to your lavender early in August when, usually, the flowers have started to die. That way you will encourage new growth, but not tough woody growth. Regards, Don

  • 4. Bilbo  |  October 11, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    A timely reminder for me. Lavender are the only plants I brought with me when we moved. The poor things have now been in tubs for far too long and are starved. They might survive, they might not.

  • 5. Nip it in the bud  |  October 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    mc – you really can smell my lavender – the first photo was a close up of the posy I sent you a couple of weeks ago and the others are from the weekend!

    ann – your lavender will really thank you for a trim in the spring. what does your dog eat to have such potent pee ;o) pee and plants is usually a good combo isn’t it?

    don – great tip, thank you. Far too many jobs in the garden to be thinking about pruning in August so may find it hard to follow through on that one. Don’t like to disturb the bees either

    bilbo – they’re pretty hardy aren’t they. Sounds like they just need a good stretch and you’ve certainly got the space for them. Planned your veg beds out yet? A nice bee attracting lavender nearby could be good…

  • 6. Darla  |  October 12, 2009 at 9:34 am

    I have never been successful at growing lavender, now I want to try again.

  • 7. pat  |  October 12, 2009 at 10:35 am

    Save the stalks; they’re full of oil and make great firelighters.

    • 8. Nip it in the bud  |  October 12, 2009 at 9:26 pm

      nice tip Pat, I shall remember that next time I fancy a bit of pyrotechnics :o)

  • 9. glenda  |  February 4, 2013 at 12:17 am

    will 2 of my lavender come back this summer after my son dog pee on 2 and i have been growing all summer they are so big and full and tall beautiful will come back so sad?

    • 10. nic@nipitinthebud.co.uk  |  February 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      Pee has beneficial effects on many plants in the garden so nothing to worry about, especially as they sound like such healthy bushes from what you’ve described.


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