Lavender Indoors

Snow is finally blanketing my garden. As much as I hate shoveling the stuff, it provides insulation for the perennials and protects the plants from temperature extremes. Today we have a windchill of -25C, while by Wednesday it might be around freezing. That is very hard on plants.

Each spring as I’m carrying plants outside I vow not to bring so many indoors the next fall, but I can’t seem to help it. I feel sorry for them! One such plant is a lovely standard orange hibiscus I’ve had for 6 years. I was determined it was not coming in this year. It takes up quite a bit of space in the south facing dining room. You guessed it – it was blooming beautifully this fall, so I removed it from the large 20″ pot it was in, cut the roots back with a knife until it fit into a 14″ pot and brought it in. It is doing very well and has been in constant bloom.

However, you are not reading here to find out about hibiscus. I also brought in for the second time a L. angustifolia ‘Munstead’. It is actually winter hardy, but I haven’t found just the right spot for it in the garden, so it has been in a container for several years now. When researching my book, I grew all kinds of lavenders in the house. The L. angustifolias really hated the dry air in the house, but this particular plant does quite well. Some of the L. x intermedias did alright – at least they stayed alive. In particular I have had L. x intermedia Silver Edge and L. x intermedia Goldburg winter quite successfully in the house. The south window has proven to be too hot for most plants, so they sit on a table, 4′-5′ back from the window. There are scented geraniums on the floor, but in sun doing very nicely.

In early November I visited Humber Nurseries. (They are located south of Hwy 7 on Hwy 50 near Brampton Ontario) They have wonderful greenhouses and are a great place to wander on a rotten winter day. One greenhouse is full of herbs. It has been a few years since I’ve had some tender lavenders in the house over the winter and wanted a few. I purchased three: L. dentata, L. stoechas and L. Goodwin Creek Grey. The L. stoechas is not looking very happy, but the other two plants look great. (I think I let it dry out too much and then over watered it)

L. Goodwin Creek Grey is one of my favorite lavenders. It is not frost tolerant, but if you live in a warmer climate can probably grow it in your garden. When I do talks I’m often asked for a variety that would suite someone who lives in an appartment and this one is perfect. It grows in a container and is quite happy indoors or out. It is easy to grow – treat it like a geranium. Good sun and let the soil dry out between waterings. In the photo here, you’ll see lovely grey foliage that is velvet to the touch and a light lavender scent. It does bloom, but they are not as spectacular as other varieties, so I consider blooms a bonus.

It was found growing at Goodwin Creek Nurseries – check out their lavenders on their website! (It is believed to be a cross from L. lanata, which in my experience is very hard to grow. Because it is a hybrid and not part of any other lavender family the name is just shown as L. Goodwin Creek Grey.)
Only 2 months until the garden shows begin!!

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