Fagus Times - June Plant of the Month - Lavandula angustifolia, Lavender
No summer would be complete without Lavender, it’s the epitome of a quintessential English country garden. This low maintenance perennial is incredibly easy to look after. Introduced to the UK by the Romans, lavender originates from North Africa and the Mediterranean; it favours full sun, poor well-drained soil, particularly sandy or chalk and loathes heavy waterlogged soils.
This stunning perennial will shine for years with the help of a bit of pruning but eventually the shrub will get woody and need replacing. Popular English lavenders are ‘Hidcote,’ ‘Munstead’ and ‘Folgate,’ all strongly scented vibrant hues and hardy to temperamental English weather. Lavandula dentata and stoechas, French and Spanish lavender are not as hardy as their English cousin.
Lavender contains linlool and linalyl acetate which is toxic to cats, dogs and horses if ingested, with greatest potency in lavender’s essential oil so keep it away from furry friends.
Then there is always the summer quandary - cut the flowers to dry and keep or leave them on the plants for the pollinators? If you can’t make your mind up then do a mixture of both!
Lavender’s essential oil promotes wellbeing, reduces anxiety and stress. Its uplifting properties can help with depression, relieve headaches and its antibacterial qualities soothe insect bites and minor burns. Lavender’s edible flowers are often used in cakes, icing and brewed for tea.
Having trouble sleeping? Place a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow and be sure of a restful nights sleep.
Lavender is used in everything from skin creams and soaps to balms and shampoos. Its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties have been utilised medicinally since ancient times and this fragrant herb is a stalwart of aromatherapy; prized by the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Arabs and Phoenicians. Containing around 100 phytochemicals, Lavender really is an incredibly versatile herb.
All photos © Debi Holland