Choosing the perfect lavender for a border: Enhancing Your Perfume and Fragrance Garden
Lavender is a timeless and beloved plant that not only adds a touch of elegance to any garden, but also fills the air with its exquisite fragrance. When it comes to creating a lavender border, choosing the right lavender varieties can make all the difference in creating a stunning display and maximizing the aromatic experience. In this article, we will explore the best lavender varieties for a border to ensure that your perfume and fragrance garden is a sensory delight.
Lavandula angustifolia: The Classic English Lavender
Lavandula angustifolia, commonly known as English Lavender, is a staple in any lavender border. This variety is known for its compact growth habit, making it an excellent candidate for edging and bordering. English lavender typically reaches a height of about 18 to 24 inches, creating a neat and tidy border. The narrow, silver-green foliage serves as an attractive backdrop for the vibrant purple or lavender flowers that bloom profusely during the summer months.
One of the outstanding characteristics of English Lavender is its captivating fragrance. The essential oil produced by this variety is highly prized in the perfume industry and is known for its sweet, floral and herbaceous aroma. When planted along a border, the scent of English lavender envelops the surrounding area, creating a fragrant haven that attracts people and pollinators alike.
Lavandula x intermedia: The Versatile Lavandin
Lavandula x intermedia, commonly known as lavandin, is a hybrid lavender created by crossing Lavandula angustifolia with Lavandula latifolia. This hybridization has resulted in a lavandin that has the best qualities of both parents. Lavandin varieties are known for their vigorous growth, long blooming season, and intense fragrance, making them a popular choice for lavender borders.
One of the key benefits of Lavandin is its versatility. Unlike some lavender varieties that excel in specific growing conditions, Lavandin is more adaptable and can thrive in a range of climates and soil types. This makes it a reliable option for gardeners who want to create a lavender border that can withstand a variety of environmental conditions. Lavandin varieties such as ‘Grosso’ and ‘Provence’ are particularly well suited for borders due to their tall stature, reaching up to 30 inches in height, and long, slender flower spikes that add vertical interest to the border.
Lavandula stoechas: The Distinctive French Lavender
Lavandula stoechas, commonly known as French Lavender, is a unique and eye-catching addition to the lavender border. This variety is distinguished from other lavenders by its distinctive and instantly recognizable flower heads, which have large bracts that resemble butterfly wings or rabbit ears. French Lavender tends to be more compact, reaching a height of about 12 to 18 inches, making it an excellent choice for the front or center of a border.
While French lavender may not have the same intensity of fragrance as its English lavender counterparts, it still emits a pleasant scent that adds to the overall aromatic experience of the border. In addition, the showy and unusual flower heads of French lavender create a visual focal point, adding an element of whimsy and charm to the border. Varieties such as ‘Otto Quast’ and ‘Helmsdale’ are popular options for lavender borders because of their vibrant colors and vigorous growth.
Lavandula x chaytoriae: The Exquisite Fernleaf Lavender
Lavandula x chaytoriae, commonly known as fernleaf lavender, is a smaller variety of lavender that is perfect for creating low borders or edging. As the name suggests, Fernleaf Lavender has finely divided foliage that resembles delicate fern fronds. This unique foliage adds a textural element to the border and creates an interesting contrast when paired with other lavender varieties.
Fernleaf Lavender produces charming clusters of lavender flowers that bloom profusely throughout the summer, attracting bees and butterflies to the border. Despite its compact size, this variety of lavender releases a delightful fragrance that adds to the overall sensory experience. Popular fernleaf lavender cultivars include ‘Goodwin Creek Grey’ and ‘Silver Frost’, both of which have exceptional ornamental qualities and are suitable for borders, rock gardens or container plantings.
Lavandula dentata: French Lavender
Lavandula dentata, commonly known as French lavender, is another excellent choice for creating a stunning lavender border. This variety is characterized by its toothed or fringed leaves, which add an intriguing texture to the border. French lavender typically grows to a height of 18 to 24 inches and produces slender flower spikes adorned with bright purple flowers.
The scent of Lavandula dentata is often described as sweet and floral, with subtle spicy notes. While it may not have the same intensity as English Lavender, it still contributes to the overall aromatic experience of the border. French Lavender’s unique foliage and charming flowers make it a visually appealing addition to any garden.
When choosing a variety of French lavender for a border, consider cultivars such as ‘Royal Crown’ or ‘Candicans’. These varieties showcase the best characteristics of Lavandula dentata with their vibrant flower spikes and attractive foliage. They are well suited for planting in the border, providing both visual interest and a delightful fragrance.
Caring for your lavender border
Once you have chosen the perfect lavender varieties for your border, it is important to give them the care they need to thrive and maintain their fragrance. Lavender prefers well-drained soil and thrives in full sun, so make sure your border receives plenty of sunlight throughout the day. If your soil tends to retain moisture, amend it with organic matter or create raised beds to improve drainage.
Regular pruning is essential to maintaining the shape and vigor of your lavender border. Prune your lavender plants in early spring before new growth appears, removing any dead or woody stems. This will encourage new growth and help maintain a compact and neat border.
Water your lavender plants sparingly as they are drought tolerant once established. Overwatering can lead to root rot and other problems, so it is best to allow the soil to dry out slightly between waterings. Apply a layer of organic mulch around your lavender plants to conserve moisture and suppress weed growth.
Finally, to promote healthy growth and abundant flowering, feed your lavender plants with a well-balanced organic fertilizer formulated specifically for flowering plants. Follow the instructions on the fertilizer package for application rates and timing.
In conclusion, creating a lavender border in your perfume and fragrance garden adds beauty, elegance and a delightful aroma. By carefully selecting the right lavender varieties, such as Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula x intermedia, Lavandula stoechas, Lavandula x chaytoriae, and Lavandula dentata, you can create a sensory oasis that will enchant your senses and those of the pollinators that visit. With proper care and attention, your lavender border will thrive and add beauty and fragrance to your landscape for years to come.
What is the best lavender for a border?
The English lavender, scientifically known as Lavandula angustifolia, is considered the best lavender variety for a border. It is known for its compact size, aromatic fragrance, and abundant blooms.
What are the characteristics of English lavender?
English lavender typically grows to a height of about 1 to 2 feet and has narrow, gray-green leaves. It produces spikes of small, fragrant flowers that are usually purple or lavender in color. It is a hardy perennial and requires well-drained soil and full sun to thrive.
Can I use other lavender varieties for a border?
While English lavender is the most commonly used lavender variety for borders due to its compact size, other lavender varieties can also be suitable depending on your preferences and growing conditions. Some popular alternatives include French lavender (Lavandula dentata) and Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas).
What are the advantages of using lavender for a border?
Lavender offers several advantages as a border plant. Its aromatic fragrance adds a pleasant scent to the garden, and its vibrant blooms attract pollinators like bees and butterflies. Lavender also has a long blooming season, providing color and interest in the garden for an extended period.
How do I care for lavender in a border?
To care for lavender in a border, ensure it receives full sun for at least six hours a day. Provide well-drained soil and avoid overwatering, as lavender prefers drier conditions. Prune the plants after flowering to maintain their shape and promote bushier growth. Additionally, you can divide and replant lavender every few years to keep it healthy and vigorous.