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With its pleasant scent and delicate flowers, Lavender has grown into a much-loved perennial in garden beds throughout the country. Choose varieties that will work for your climate and growing conditions and you’ll be rewarded with long-lasting blooms on mature, mounding plants. Spanish lavenders with their two-toned blooms are perfect for containers, while some aromatic English lavenders can survive a tough northern winter. French lavenders, with their showy foliage, add just the right touch of grace to ornamental flower gardens. Lavenders do prefer full sun, low humidity, and gritty soil, but many can - and do - grow them with ease.
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Continued From Above
Where and how you plant is all important. Keep in mind that the lavenders are native to the Mediterranean, and if you've ever been to the South of France, you know that means hot, rocky, and arid--almost desert-like in many places. This tells you that perennial lavenders demand sharp-draining soils, never rich, damp and soggy. In fact, if your soil is heavy, it's worth it to mix in some sand or gravel before you plant, and perhaps create little mounds for your plants so each one drains quickly. Fact is, if you fail with lavender, it will probably be due to over-watering. Lavenders don't mind drought a bit, and love hot, blazing sun. Remember, little water and no shade! As for varieties, first there are the "English Lavenders", which are cultivars of Lavendula angustifolia and include the famous "Munstead," most popular variety for the US. (Munstead is the one in the photo at right.) And then there's "Hidcote," a shorter version of the same species. Both are highly fragrant, and both are favorites as dried flowers. Beyond the English types, there are other lavenders commonly called French, Spanish, and other names.