Lavender is one of the most popular small garden shrubs. It has narrow, oily and aromatic evergreen leaves and bears dense spikes of small tubular flowers in summer.
Lavandula angustifolia is commonly known as English lavender. Most varieties yield purple flowers, but some cultivars come in white or pink. Nearly all cultivars and hybrids are extremely attractive to bees, butterflies and hoverflies. They make an excellent cut flower – both in fresh and dried arrangements.
Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote' is a compact lavender, suitable for growing in borders or as dwarf hedging – it looks lovely lining a path. Named after Hidcote, the beautiful Arts & Crafts garden in Gloucestershire, it's one of the most popular lavenders. Its dense silver-grey foliage, covered in fragrant, dark violet-blue dense flower spikes in mid-summer. It is fully hardy and does well in the UK climate, even in northern areas. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
For best results, grow lavender 'Hidcote' in well-drained soil in full sun. Cut back the flower stalks after they have finished, and then trim back plants in April, to keep them neat and bushy. Do not cut into old wood as it may not resprout. 'Hidcote' lavender grows at a rate of around 10cm per year and reaches around 75cm x 60cm.
For a smaller, equally hardy lavender that is more compact and has looser, paler flowers, try Lavandula angustifolia 'Munstead'. Lavender 'Munstead' copes with heat better than other English lavenders.
More on growing lavender:
Where to buy lavender 'Hidcote'
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