Posted by: marymarthatours | February 20, 2010

Lavender, the Quintessential English Herb

clip_image002 Lavender at Chirk Castle, Wales

Did you know that English Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia, isn’t really English? This wonderful plant, grown in so many English gardens, is native to the western Mediterranean and the Pyrenees mountains.

Lavender grows in many English gardens. It is a beautiful grey-leaved ornamental plant with lovely flowers, a marvelous scent, and the ability to survive low water conditions. It can be allowed to grow into open bushy plants or trimmed into hedges. It is grown for its flowers, for use in lavender-scented products, and as a culinary herb. In American gardens it’s hardy to zone 5, although if you live in zone 4 and love lavender like I do, you can still grow it. Mine dies back most winters, but usually survives and flowers again. If it doesn’t survive, I have two favorite catalogs from which I order new plants, Bluestone Perennials and White Flower Farm.

clip_image004 Lavandula angustifolia, English Lavender

The two varieties of English Lavender that are most common in the USA have very English names. Hidcote Lavender, named for Hidcote Manor Garden, grows to about 20”. Its lower growing cousin, Munstead Lavender, is named for the home of the great English garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. Lavender can be found in the many gardens she designed.

clip_image006 clip_image008

Lavender used in the borders at the Manor House Upton Grey, and at Hidcote Manor Garden

Our 2010 Herb Gardens of Southern England Tour will have a number of opportunities to see how lavender can be used. We’ll visit the restored Gertrude Jekyll garden at the Manor House at Upton Grey and the garden at Hidcote Manor where we’ll see lavender in the flower gardens. At the Cotswold Perfumery in Bourton-on-the-Water we’ll see how lavender is used in perfumes. When we arrive at the Snowshill Lavender Farm, the lavender harvest will be in full swing. And at the National Herb Centre, we’ll see the culinary side of this versatile plant. I can’t wait for that wonderful fragrance in all its settings.

(by Mary)

To get you in the mood for our visit to Snowshill Lavender Farm click on this video. You’ll almost be able to smell the fragrance.


My picks for perennial suppliers: Bluestone Perennials ( and White Flower Farm (


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: