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Monday, 23 June 2014

What I've Learned About Growing Lavender

The first thing I learned was that I totally suck at it.  Seriously.  I'd plant it and it would live for a year or two, give hardly any blooms and die.  It was embarrassing!  Also, I really wanted my own lavender for projects. This year I went on a mission to find out what I was doing wrong.

That took a trip to a lavender farm with some girlfriends. ~


I pestered the poor owner giving the tour with a million detailed questions and I'm sure he just wanted me to shut up and go home.  I wasn't satisfied with him telling me how to prune lavender, I got him to prune a plant so I could see what he was doing.

I'm pretty sure I have this thing nailed now, but feel free to add any comments that will help me along!

Mistake #1 was trying to grow lavender in my heavy, clay soil.  It won't thrive in wet conditions and that is what you get with clay.

The answer was to create a new bed that was well drained and had good soil.  I was terracing a hill beside my patio and this was the perfect spot for a lavender bed. There's a gravel base and a load of good topsoil in there. ~


My helpers and I spaced the plants 20" inches apart.  It takes 3 yrs. for the plant to mature to full size and will need that much room. ~


Kay and Anne really liked this project and they haven't dug a single plant back out yet.  Keep your fingers crossed!

Mistake #2 was not pruning correctly.  Lavender wants to turn into a bush.  If it isn't pruned properly it gets woody and, since the blooms are on the new, soft growth you don't want that.  I found a great video on pruning for the first three years.  To see the video click A Guide To Lavender. Trust me, I watched them all and this one is the best. Lavender will live for 20 yrs. so it's important to get it right in the beginning.

Mistake #3 was not checking to see if the variety of lavender was hardy to my temperature zone. In my part of Canada there are only two varieties that stand up well to the extreme cold of winter.

I have the plants labelled and we'll see if one variety does better than another. ~


That's one level of terrace done!  The weeds are thriving on the upper level and I'd better pick up the pace on this project.

While my little lavender plants may not be all the impressive right now, ~


I have great dreams of this! ~


I will wear a white gown and dance through my field of lavender.

Of course, the chickens will want to dance right along with me and that may spoil the effect some!

I'm sharing this with:  The HomeAcre HopCottage Style Party