Lavender: Blue Wonder


The spicy, aromatic aroma and violet flowers of lavender can transform every garden into a bewitching oasis of wellbeing. For all that, it’s also a very humble garden inhabitant that doesn’t require much care.

The most popular dwarf shrub, all “Lavandula angustifolia” asks for is a sunny spot sheltered from wind with dry, nutrient-poor soil. Avoid overzealous watering, since lavender can’t withstand rot or mold from wet roots. In general a very frugal plant, it only needs fertilizing once a year. Give it too much, and it will become more sensitive to frost and become woody more quickly.

Spring is just the right time to bring lavender into top form. The ideal time to cut it back is between the last frost and the first budding. Prune away up to two-thirds of the plant so that fresh new growth can sprout. Maintain a compact form – it’s these finishing touches that will ensure regular growth and prevent the lower branches from becoming increasingly woody. Go ahead and remove all woody or dry areas from the previous year. The important thing is not to cut too deeply into the wood; new shoots can still develop from there. The so-called mound shape is a popular choice. The plants are pruned into a hemisphere that will maintain ist shape into late summer. 

Prune lavender again at the end of its flowering, sometime in September. This garden beauty should now be trimmed back by about one third. This trimming is considered to be rejuvenating, and a time when valuable cuttings can be gathered for use in sachets or potpourri. With a covering for insulation, lavender will readily survive in any garden. An additional layer of brushwood or fall leaves will protect the plants from drying out in freezing temperatures.

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