Lovely Lavender

There’s nothing quite as soothing as sitting in a garden filled with lavender.  Lavender has long been touted as having a “calming and soothing effect.”  Now that’s something we all can use!

There are many different varieties of this bushy semi-evergreen herb.  Depending on which lavender plant you choose, the leaves will vary in height, the flowers will vary from a deep purple to a lighter violet, and the leaves of gray/green may be more silvery on some varieties than others.  All lavenders need good sun and well-drained soil to flourish, but they don’t need constant watering.  Added bonus: They also attract beneficial insects.

Here’s a sampling of some of the lavenders you may want for your garden this year:

Common or English Lavender is the hardiest (zones 5 to 9), producing deep purple flowers on 3 ft. stalks in summer.  While all lavenders have a pleasing scent, English Lavender is the most prized for its fragrance.

French and Spanish Lavender are very ornamental, but not as cold hardy. They make wonderful container plants on your sunny deck or balcony.

Hidcote Lavender grows 12-18” with dark purple/blue flowers, while Lady Lavender is more compact and stays to an 8-10” bush with light purple flowers.  Another favorite is Munstead Lavender that tops off at 18” with purple flowers.

Dry lavender in bundles to hang in your closets or place in your dresser drawers.  Trim lavender and put it in bud vases with contrasting pink or deep yellow flowers.  Keep the bud vase near your bedside to wake up to lavender’s subtle scent or put a bud vase in the bathroom.

Lavender can be used in cooking (i.e., lavender cupcakes and biscuits, etc.) and dried for floral and wreath arrangements.

While the Beatles were relishing in their strawberry fields — try finding your own lavender field by checking your local area to see if there is a lavender or herb farm you can visit.

Lovely lavender, one of those simple spring and summer pleasures, making your world a little calmer (and definitely better smelling).