Gardening: Fall in love with lavender

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Lavender is a favourite with gardeners not just for its beautiful form and fragrance, but also because it attracts essential pollinators such as bees and butterflies, making it the perfect choice for the Horticultural Trades Association’s (HTA) Plant of the Month for April.

Lavender is an easy herb to grow on its own or as a companion plant with roses or other plants of your choice.

It is loved by bees and humans alike and emits a beautiful scent when you brush past it.

It’s considered a romantic flower that most gardeners get the urge to plant in their garden sooner or later, and can add real value with its scent and shades of blue flowers and silver leaf backdrop.

There is a variety of lavender plants that will let you choose from a full spectrum of colours to create a uniform hedge or just have a collection of different shades. Lavender plants make an excellent edge to a rose border or herb or vegetable garden.

They will help soften the lines of hard landscaping such as terraces or patios and wherever it is planted lavender brings structure, colour and most significantly its alluring scent.

To successfully grow lavender, it needs to be planted in a warm, well drained soil with full sun and can also do well in a container.

It is often planted as an edging plant with roses, or grown as an informal hedge. However, lavender does not like ‘wet feet’ as it promotes root rot and dampness is often the reason that it doesn’t perform well. It’s a tough plant though and once established only requires regular pruning after flowering in the cold weather.

Nominated and agreed upon by British growers and retailers, the HTA’s Plant of the Month campaign highlights the plants that are widely available and looking especially good in garden centres and nurseries each month. Different varieties are recommended together with simple planting and care hints and tips. For more information, see www.the-hta.org.uk/plantofthemonth2013