Lavender is one of the most sought-after plants at this time of year – they perfume the spring air, highlighting the strongly perfumed roses and gardenias.
It may be beautiful and highly perfumed and without extremes of heat and drought but beware when the humidity of summer arrives. Lavender growing in wet or boggy soil will soon succumb to fungal disease.
The sunniest spot in the garden is required. Grow it in poor light and it will become straggly with little fragrance and few flowers.
The unusual fact about lavender is that it will grow in both acid or alkaline soils.
Currently, French Lavender is beginning to flower and it is the best lavender to grow in coastal areas.
The choices of lavender are quite extensive and confusing.
English Lavender is reputed to have the best perfume, flowering from November to February, but it can also be the toughest to grow, particularly if being used for a border, as often one and then another die, spoiling the effect.
Italian Lavender flowers from September to November. Available on today’s market are many varieties, which have been cultivated with larger and varied colours, but I generally find they don’t flower over long periods.
Strong healthy plants can be achieved by pruning after flowering – like daisies, they don’t like to be cut back to hard wood.
It is easy to take cuttings from autumn or spring growth.
Using fresh young shoots 5cm-7cm long, dip them in rooting powder and plant them in a mix of coarse sand and peat moss, keeping the cuttings well-watered. It could take up to 6-8 weeks to strike.
- Prune established passionfruit vines by reducing trailing arms to about 60 centimetres.
- It is obviously a great time to fertilise lawns.
- After the heavy rain, give roses a handful of dolomite.