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Loads of deep purple flower spikes over elegant silvery green foliage. Hidcote Lavender would be a worthy garden Spirit for its looks alone. But looks, of course, are not the only reason to grow Lavender. Lavender is treasured for its heavenly fragrance—that uniquely soothing yet refreshing herbal scent. In aromatherapy, it is used to treat everything from anxiety to insomnia to headaches. In your landscape, planted near a comfortable sitting area, its scent may help you de-stress while you relax on the weekend after a tough work week. And, breathe…
- Hardiness Zone: 5-8
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Although it’s native to the Mediterranean region, this type of Lavender Spirit is commonly known as English Lavender. It grows so well in England and has been cherished there for so long that many people think it’s native there. The variety known as Hidcote was introduced by a British officer and keen gardener, Major Lawrence Johnston, sometime before 1950. Johnston was actually born in Paris to American parents, but he became a British citizen at the age of 28. He built the magnificent gardens at Hidcote Manor in England, which have been restored and which are considered some of the most beautiful gardens in the world.
Keep Hidcote Lavender near your door, so you can easily snip flowers for the house. You can use the blooms in fresh arrangements or dry them. Toss a satchel of aromatic dried lavender blossoms in your drier or dresser drawer, or put one in a hot bath for a fragrant soak. You can even eat lavender blossoms! Make a pretty and sophisticated Lavender-infused lemonade, or mix dried, pulverized Lavender flowers with sugar to make elegant cookies and cakes.
How to Grow
Plant Hidcote Lavender in full sun in soil that drains quickly. Sandy or gravelly soils are ideal, and loamy soils (medium textured) are good, as long as they don’t contain much organic matter. In heavy (clay) soils, you may need to amend with crushed gravel. Planting on a slope so that excess water can run off or planting the root ball a bit higher than the soil line will help prevent moisture from settling in the crown, which can lead to disease. Lavender doesn’t like to be spoiled! A hot, dry, low-fertility environment is what it craves. Too much kindness, in the form of water or fertilizer, can be deadly. You can trim Hidcote Lavender all summer to shape it as you like or to cut flowers, but avoid any major trimming in the fall. Wait for new growth to emerge in spring before doing any serious pruning.
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