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Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. Please feel free to make comments at the bottom of each post and tick the reactions boxes. If you have any gardening questions or want advice just post a comment (choose anonymous from the drop down) and I'll write about it. Regards JP.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Plant of the Week: Lavandula

I chose Lavender for the plant of the week for a number of reasons.  It smells great, looks attractive, attracts butterflies and bees to the garden, quick and easy to grow (not fussy at all), can be used in cooking, can be dried or pressed for medicinal purposes, you can put a few sprigs in pantyhose and leave it in your drawer to make your clothes smell fresh, and the list goes on.  A gardening friend of mine once said to me that a garden wasn’t really a garden unless it had lavender in it.  Mmmmm I thought, better go and get me some lavender.  It’s easy enough to go and buy it from the garden shop, but the other reason I wanted to write about it is because it can be so easily grown for free by you.  Yes, you!! Yes, free!!!  Just find a plant in your neighbourhood (as you go for your morning walk) and cut a 6cm piece of softwood with a flower bud on it.  Trim it up (to look like the photo), stick the bottom end in hormone gel if you have it (don’t worry if you don’t) and stick it in a small pot of potting mix.  Keep the mix damp but not soaking (or the cutting will rot). 
Only after a few weeks the cutting will start growing roots and after a couple of months you can plant it out into the garden.  I took (yes took, not stole) four different cuttings from four different varieties last year and all four are now growing and flowering really well (as you can see in the photos).  Two pieces of advice is to make sure you take the cutting from a healthy looking plant as you are making offspring from a parent plant.  Take from an ugly looking parent and you will get an ugly looking kid. And take the cutting from an upright section of the plant, not from the side (let’s not get into genetics here, just trust me).  You can grow lavender from cuttings all year round, although the best time is from late spring to autumn.  Even if you already have lavender growing in your garden give it a go and give it away.
Extra for Blooming geeks:  Lavender belongs to the Lamiaceae family – the mint family.   

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