Monday, 18 July 2011

Purple Haze

Lavendula Angustifolia
Old English Lavender

Blue hazed lavender that lines the grass-trod paths
Where in summers past, enclose-clipped borders of knot-gardens,
The housewife spread her linen to dry.
She made conserves of its pointed flowers with three times their weight of white sugar,
which drove away head-pains, and distilled and bottled lavender water
to last the winter through.
Lavender, from the latin 'lavare' - to wash.
For this was the flower used to perfume water for washing.

How could I have gone this long without mentioning Lavender.  Can there be a nicer approach to a cottage door than between two lavender hedges, spilling on to the path, releasing their scent as you brush past.  With colours from white to rich electric violet, floating in a purple haze above mounds of grey-green foliage.

Lavender has been around since 1265 but it is not English at all having been brought to Britain from the Mediterranean.  It is quite indispensable in the cottage garden its flowers and foliage are superbly perfumed and a magnet for bees.  It has been used as a scent for centuries and is still the best 'air-freshener' available.

Clip over the plants in the spring removing all flower-heads and cutting down to within a few centimetres of the old wood.  Regular attention will ensure the plants remain compact and bushy.  A sunny spot, good drainage and it will be happy.  Take softwood cuttings in summer.

If you are interested in vegetable growing then click on to my new 'page'  Kitchen Garden for daily progress reports.


  1. Lovely plant! I have been promising myself that I'd have some on the plot ever since I took it on and next year I will as I've now ordered some at long last! Flighty xx

  2. Lots of lavender plants grouped together is a lovely sight! Putting a lavender walk in the gardens next to the veg patch was one of my first thoughts. Next year it may well happen, I've been eyeing up lavender plugs in the catalogues! Good tips on pruning, as well.

  3. Oh, I just love lavender! So pretty. If you have any methods of drying/using it, please can you do a post on it? I would be most interested to read it.