Archive for June, 2011

Hardy Lavender and Lavender Festivals

June 12, 2011

L. angustifolia 'Munstead'

The season is nearly upon us. The lavender fields will soon be in full bloom and I urge you to find a local festival and enjoy. Many offer you the opportunity to cut your own lavender. They will show you how and where to cut it and if you are nervous about pruning your lavender, this will give you much more confidence. It is a great way to stock up on lavender.

One of the largest is the Lavender Festival in Sequim, Washington State. I went a few years ago and loved it. Many of the lavender farms in the area put on special events and there are multiple craft shows. You will find products you never new existed containing lavender, but it is really the fields of blooming lavender that you go to see.

Winter Hardy L. angustifolia ‘Munstead’
In my part of Canada, choosing lavender that is winter hardy is a popular topic. One of the most winter hardy is L. angustifolia ‘Munstead’. It matures to around 12″ in height and is a good choice for the garden, and especially the rock garden. Lavender is technically a shrub and many varieties have a tendancy to produce woody stems and Munstead is very good at producing woody stems, so you must stay on top of pruning. I have noticed with my own plants, that every 2 or 3 years, it produced new growth from the base of the plant in the spring. This means I can remove all the woody stems and the plant re-grows from the base. Most lavenders will NOT do this, but Munstead seems to be an exception.

‘Munstead’ produced blooms at the tip of the stem, just a cluster of blooms. Many of the plants are started from seed and this results in variations in color, from light mauves, to darker purples. The photo here is a beautiful ‘Munstead’ that was for sale at Bleu Lavande, which is a beautiful lavender farm nearly 2 hours south of Montreal, Quebec. The flower here is nearly white, with a darker edge!

Remember, when planting your lavender choose a site with at least 5 hours of direct sun and good drainage. If you are not sure about the drainage, dig a bigger hole and mix the soil with sand. Finally – plant the lavender as soon as you get it home. For some reason, lavender planted after mid-July has a lower chance of surviving the first winter.

My L. angustifolias all have buds now and I hope you will soon be enjoying your lavender.