Lavender’s favourite time of year

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Started sneezing yet? I have. Spring has sprung and the days are windy, blowing pollen around.

I begin sneezing instantly when I walk into the courtyard at the nursery; the bees are out and the boronia is in flower and highly perfumed.

Spring certainly is lavender’s favourite time of the year. The French Lavender is budding and about to burst into bloom.

The beauty of this lavender is that its ­flowering period is from now through to February and, in coastal areas, it is the better performer.

Strong, healthy plants can be achieved by a hard pruning when ­flowering finishes, but this can be done from an early age.

Lavender can have an overrated reputation of being hardy.

Yes, it can withstand extremes of heat and cold, but it suffers during humid conditions. It is wise to plant in the sunniest spot in the garden, making sure it is planted in well-drained soil.

If its roots are in wet soil, it may simply drop dead. Lavender will grow in acidic or alkaline soil with plenty of circulation.

During humid weather, watch for signs of fungus and start a spraying program with Mancozeb or copper oxychloride.

There are many different types of lavender marketed now, most only ­ owering once a year. English Lavender does have the best perfume, ­flowering from November to February, but it can be dif‑ cult to grow, particularly at that time because of Australia’s humid conditions.

We gardeners alike love the perfume of lavender, which is one of the most popular small shrubs around the world.

There are approximately 20 species and numerous varieties – thousands of acres are grown here and in Europe for lavender oil, which is mainly used in cosmetics and soaps.

Lavender is ideal for hot, dry places and sandy soils. Grown in heavier soil, drainage must be good, despite lavender’s ability to withstand dry periods. Young plants do need soil to remain moist through their firs period of growing during our summer season.

If you wish to propagate by cuttings, these are best taken in autumn and treated with rooting hormones.

THIS WEEK

  • The soil has now warmed enough to plant out corn, which can be sown from seeds, or ready to plant seedlings.
  • Apply a foliant fertiliser such as Flourish to petunias on planting and each week to encourage ­ owers for early summer.
  • It is time to take frangipani cuttings.

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NRMA Parks and Resorts
NRMA Parks and Resorts