It flowers for months, bees love it and it smells divine. Plant some lavender in your garden and capture the essence of the Mediterranean wherever you live.
I’m biased as I love a Mediterranean look and feel in a garden, but I honestly think that lavender looks it’s absolute best when grown in terracotta pots. For me, the warm red of the pots and the fuzzy deep green foliage and blue/purple shade of the flowers offset against a blue summer sky is so evocative. One glance at a pot of lavender in full bloom and I’m instantly transported to the French Riviera, if only for a moment.
The Main Differences Between English & French Lavender
English lavender – (Lavendula Augustifolia)
Also referred to as true or common lavender and has, for centuries, been cultivated for it’s high quality lavender oil. It has a fairly compact growing habit, with densely packed spikes of flowers.
This type of lavender is ideally suited to planting amongst other flowers for example in rock gardens, herb gardens and due to it’s wonderful scent, in raised beds, allowing it’s fine fragrance to be enjoyed by passers by. You’ll also find this type of lavender planted along formal walkways, providing an elegant edging to long pathways. It’s flowering period is mid to late summer.
French Lavender – (Lavandula Stoechas)
Also referred to as Spanish or butterfly lavender. It has quite conspicuous bracts or ears growing above it’s dense blooms. It’s foliage is quite distinctive, having a slight silvery hue, an attractive feature all on it’s own actually, just be aware though that French lavender is generally more tender than other types.
Due to it’s more showstopper appearance, French lavender tends to steal the show a little in the glamour stakes. And I especially like to see it planted in containers.
This has long been a contentious issue for me and fellow lavender growers. I’m quite a harsh pruner and the trouble with lavender is that if you cut right back into the old wood, it doesn’t always regenerate and recover. The trouble is that when I have exercised more disciplined and not been too ferocious with my pruning, my lavender has become too woody at the base. I’m trying to reach a good compromise but it’s definitely still a work in progress!
Feature Image Source: Provence Guide