Lavender Blooms

English: lavender

English: lavender (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been kicking around the idea of lavender in the food garden for quite sometime, considering and dismissing many possibleplacements. Lavender is renown for attracting bees and other pollinators. It is also pretty well known for attracting beneficial insects.

Some say it is easy to grow, and some say it can be a bit tricky. I have a different kind of tricky corner in my yard that has been through many incarnations. It is an odd 135 degree corner inside a chain link fence.It tends to get weedy as my dissatisfaction with various plantings leads to neglect. My neighbor often uses a little Round-up on his side, and I can’t blame him. How do I create a permanent planting that is attractive, functional, and protected from my close neighbor’s chemical use?

Inspiration finally came fast and furious when I discovered six Lavender Augustiflora (Munstead) plants on the reduced sale rack in the garden store. They were $2 each, 50% off the usual herb price. Munstead is the lavender most frequently used for cooking. It is compact and may grow to about 18″ at the tallest. It is also more winter hardy than other lavenders.

I bought the plants and headed to the home improvement store, where I picked up a few angled pavers and a bag of grit to set them in. The weather was perfect for this fall project. The grey pavers were easy to set and made a great semi-raised bed edge. The stone will keep weeds down, chemicals out, and even better, seal up the bottom fence edge where the bunnies get in and the dog gets out.

The grey green foliage looks nice against the grey stone, too. The rock will hold the heat to give the plant a micro-climate it will like. Lavender likes it hot and dry, but not especially humid like it will get in Cincinnati, Ohio. Next spring, I will put down a grey rock mulch around the plants to try and alleviate the humidity. Until then, I will water it well. In spite of prefering dry conditions, the plants I just installed will need to become established first.

I am looking forward to the lavender flowers next summer. Lavender blooms can be used like rosemary for marinades and grilling meat. They might also be sparingly sprinkled in a fresh green salad or dried for tea.  (The leaves are also edible, just more strongly perfumed.) It will be fun to check out a few culinary recipes and possibly a few medicinal recipes as well.

One thing about fall garden projects; I always seem to run out of daylight just as I am about to finish the job. I worked feverishly to finish the lavender bed, hoping I had the plants spaced correctly and in a fairly straight line. I was able to water just as it got too dark to see. From the photo below I was able to take with a flash, I think I did a pretty good job.Time for a nice relaxing lavender bath to rinse off the garden dirt and get ready for sweet dreams of springtime.Fall gardening hazard- running out of daylight!

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