By Millie Hurst
Most gardening fans are first drawn to the idea of learning how to grow lavender after being enchanted by photos of rolling fields of the purple plant growing in the south of France. There are various kinds of lavender out there, and the good news is that it’s pretty hardy and a perfect pick for cottage gardens. At Gardeningetc, we predict it’s going to become all the more popular in 2021, as the green-fingered among us embrace its heady and relaxing scent.
Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire's Garden Centres, agrees. ‘It is one of our most sought-after plants and was in high demand in 2020,’ she says. ‘We expect it to be just as popular this year,’ Sarah adds.
The evergreen shrub, which flowers from June to September, will also bring rich color to your garden. Plant it among Mediterranean plants or roses, or on its own. Growing happily with very little water, lavender can be planted is perfect in a window box. If you don't have a garden explore some of our other window box ideas.
Alternatively, it can be used to complement any cottage garden ideas. For those in North America, Lavandula angustifolia is recommended, as it can withstand cold climates better than other varieties. If you're in the warmer south, try growing Lavandula dentata or stoechas.
You might think you know the benefits of lavender already, as it's often praised for its many health benefits. But did you know it can keep mosquitoes, flies, fleas, and ticks at bay? We can’t think of a more pleasant insect repellant. In the kitchen, lavender petals come into their own when sprinkled over summer desserts or used to make lavender lemonade and scented tea.
What's more, it can ease headaches and aid sleep, plus lavender essential oil can soothe itching and help heal burns and bites. And let’s not forget its use as a natural home fragrance. Add some lavender stems to a rustic vase to bring a calming French countryside feel into your home.
Lavender also, of course, attracts bees and butterflies, giving them a place to go foraging for nectar. If you’ve always liked the idea of finding out how to plant a lavender hedge in your garden, our guide will prove handy. Its scent is particularly strong in the summer months, so get planting now.
Alan Titchmarsh's personal favorites are ‘Imperial Gem’ and ‘Hidcote’ thanks to their rich, purple flowers and sturdy and upright nature. The plant will only live for a few years, so that's all the more reason to stop and smell the lavender at every opportunity.
And if you've already got a couple of lavender plants in your garden and would love to have more, our guide on how to take lavender cuttings is a brilliant way to get plants for free.
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