My wife has been on at me for ages to get rid of our lawn and use it for something useful and I've finally caved and have planted a Lavender Farm! A while ago we visited an amazing Lavender Farm near Queenstown called Ben Lomond Lavender and I've always dreamt of having rows of fragrant Lavender on mass like theirs. Since then I've always had lots of single Lavs planted around my Citrus and dotted around the garden but i think when in rows and properly trimmed, Lavender really shines.
With Lavender, my favourite varietal is "English Lavender" (its common name) or Lavendula Angustifolia (its Latin name). At the plant store you rarely see this one though as the average punter there seems to prefer the Stoechas variety or "Spanish Lavender" which, my friends, is a seriously inferior plant, trust me. The scent & essential oil of the Angustifolia is sweet, light & beautiful, whereas the other lavenders have a resinous, camphor element to their oil which makes it much inferior.
When deciding on the variety to use we went with "Grosso". For years Grosso has been the world's most extensively grown lavender for oil production. Grosso is a lavandin, in other words, a hybrid between Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia. It has intermediate characteristics of both parents, having long flowering stems with multiple lateral branching. The habit of the plant is bushy and rounded with greenish-grey foliage. It is reasonably slow growing at first but by its third year forming a spherical mound of between 40-50cm both in width and height. For us in New Zealand it is a plant that looks great from early January through to March if left to flower untouched. This is often a time when many other plants are suffering with the heat and dry yet this lavender never fails to impress. The flowers still look good in March, even if a little faded. Plants can then be cut back and trimmings and flowers and stems make good compost. Personally i would have gone with Pacific Blue which is an Angustifolia as the scent is just so beautiful but they are a lot smaller plants and the yield of flowers is about 1/3 or 1/4 compared to Grosso. The Grosso plants also look more appealing during flowering in Summer as they have many prolific long spikes of flowers that look great over an extended period.
The plants i purchased are all fairly young and will take about 2 or 3 years to fully mature but we should see some flowers this summer hopefully. Today i laid out all the plants evenly in straight rows. Tomorrow i will plant the Lavenders in a easy draining pumice/compost growing medium mix in raised mounds over the stodgy clay topsoil. I'll then lay weed mat over the entire area to suppress the grass & weeds. Eventually i'll lay bark over to give a more natural look.
|Spacing out the plants.|
|The growing medium.|
|Mounding up in the growing medium.|