Lavender – the perfect plant for both formal and informal gardens

Lavender-Field-Provence-France_bLavender is a wonderful plant to bring a shot of lapis blue into the garden throughout mid summer. But a careful prune in August can bring dividends in the months to come when the structural bones of the garden are laid bare during winter.

For a formal look, a lavender path or modern border can be shaped into mounds by carefully ’rounding’ the plant, without cutting into the brown wood under the herbaceous canopy. This has to be done in August to give the plant time to heal up before the temperature drops in Autumn. Some cultivars lend themselves more successfully than others to this treatment. Lavandula angustifolia ‘Vera’ is an ideal cultivar for this approach.

Do take care to check that the ‘Vera’ you choose is identical in leaf shape and habit to the squat, grey-green plant featured in the picture above. Unfortunately, the strains of this variety have become mixed up in the nurseries, and a Vera from one might look very different to a Vera from another.

As the season continues, a less formal structure emerges as the plants start to meld together:

From August onwards, the striking blue will start to fade and the plant now needs to be pruned. When the long flowering season is finally over, it is time to dead head and reshape, in time for winter:

Lavendula angustifolia ‘Vera’ in winter

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