Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Lavender is one of the most popular herbs. It also makes a wonderful cut flower.
This plant is especially suitable for cutting gardens. It is so easy to grow. There are suitable ones for every climate.
When you are choosing lavender for your cutting garden, consider both the winter hardiness and its heat tolerance. Not all lavenders thrive in hot, humid weather conditions. Likewise, most will not survive soggy winter soils. If necessary, grow them in raised beds to promote better soil drainage.
If your growing conditions arenít suitable for perennial lavenders, donít worry. There is a wonderful annual type that blooms the very first year. Lavender Lady was an All-America Selection winner. This is normally grown as an annual. Just give it a sunny, well drained spot. Allow plenty of space between the individual plants to promote good air circulation.
There are many kinds of lavenders, all of which are suitable for cut flowers. For cutting gardens in colder climates, the English lavender and its cultivars are a good choice.
Concerning the English lavenders, one of the most widely grown is the Hidcote. This is considered hardy in zones 5 through 9. In addition, there is a compact type of Hidcote, Hidcote Superior. Normally, this one would bloom sometime between June and September. However, there were some studies that show it could be forced into bloom for use as an indoor pot plant.
In addition to winter hardy types, there are tender perennial lavenders. Examples include French and Spanish lavenders that are hardy only to zones 8 or 9. I grow these as well, but I overwinter them indoors.
So far as care is concerned, the lavenders are very undemanding. These trouble-free plants require very little attention. They are drought tolerant.
Lavenders of all sorts add all kinds of beauty to bouquets and floral designs. The gorgeous, fine-textured, scented foliage is just unmistakable. Even when it is not in bloom, sprigs can be added to different kinds of arrangements.
Harvest the lavender flower stalks before they are fully open if possible. They are used both as a fresh and dried flower. Traditionally, these are arranged into lavender wands, and are used as an everlasting. So far as drying is concerned, this is about the easiest everlasting around. Just cut the stems and hang them in a shady place. Nothing could be easier.