Plant of the Month by Martin Fish
Although not a native plant, English lavender is one of the most popular and recognisable summer flowering plants that we grow in our gardens.
To give it its proper name, Lavandula Angustifolia originates from the Mediterranean region where it grows wild as a low growing shrub that can grow to around 1 metre tall.
It makes an excellent garden plant, but to thrive it does need planting in an open sunny position and in well-drained soil.
All lavenders dislike wet or very heavy soils and if this is the case in your garden, to improve growing conditions plant in raised beds and work in plenty of well-rotted compost and grit to improve the drainage.
There are now many forms of English lavender and one of the best known is ‘Hidcote’, a lower growing form with a compact habit that grows to around 50cm (20in) tall. The foliage is silver-grey in colour and in July it produces masses of deep-purple, aromatic flowers that act like a magnet to bees and other pollinating insects.
Every garden needs lavender and it can be grown as specimen plants in a border, in large pots or as a low hedge. Despite its warmer origins, English lavender is hardy and if trimmed after flowering or in spring before new growth starts, it will stay bushy and compact and produce an abundance of flowers in mid-summer.
Martin Fish is a gardening columnist, broadcaster, speaker, RHS judge and all-round horticulture expert. He writes for publications including Garden Answers, Kitchen Garden and Which? Gardening.
We have worked with Martin closely over a number of years and each month he will be choosing a favourite Plant of the Month for us, with tips and advice for planting and growing in the garden.