Country gardens in Berkshire & Oxfordshire
A pretty knot garden/parterre in a large Berkshire garden by Jo Alderson Phillips
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Please the bees with lavender Lavandula is an essential ingredient of a scented garden, whether you plan to enjoy walking along a path flanked with bushes of this wonderful woody shrub, stroking its blooms, or watch the bees go mad for its nectar-rich flowers. This Mediterranean plant is drought-tolerant and therefore good for gravel gardens and even coastal ones. Lavenders thrive in poor, moderately fertile soil and need good drainage. In heavier soils, the plants will need replacing after a few years. As they don’t break readily from old wood, if they’re not pruned after flowering in late summer, then it’s down to the garden centre for more! When growing lavender as a hedge, try to plant on a ridge so the shrubs’ bases don’t get waterlogged. Space each plant around 30cm apart or, for larger specimens, 45cm apart. Two of the most hardy and popular varieties of lavender include Lavandula Angustifolia ‘Hidcote’, which has compact, grey-green foliage and dense, dark violet flowers, and Lavandula Angustifolia ‘Munstead’, which has dense, mid-green foliage and lavender-blue flowers. There are pink and white flowering lavenders, too, as well as the French Stoechas and Pedunculata cultivars, which have colourful bracts that resemble rabbit ears. These varieties tend to be less hardy and so are ideal for containers.