ABOUT LAVENDER

In our field, we planted approximately 1/3 of an acre of Lavendula angustifolia in six different varieties and four varieties of Lavendula xintermedia.  These include Edelweiss, Hidcote Pink, Folgate, Hidcote Giant, Impress Purple, Betty's Blue, Buena Vista, Purple Bouquet, Grosso, and Royal Velvet.

Lavendula angustifolia - Sometimes called true or common lavender is the most cold-hardy species of lavender.  It is rated as hardy to zone 5, although some claim to be able to grow it in climates as cool as zone 4 or zone 3.  true lavenders are grown all over the world, in various climates, for their prized essential oil and beauty in the garden.  their fragrance is generally sweeter than other species, making them a great choice for culinary use.  A spectrum of bloom color among individual cultivars may include blues, purples, violets, pinks, and even whites.  True lavenders need to be grown in locations where they can go dormant in the winter months.  In areas of high rainfall, extra care needs to be taken to ensure they get proper drainage.  Snow can actually benefit the plants during winter by providing insulation.  Below are the descriptors of the six Lavendula angustifolia varieties on our farm:

 

  • Bettty's Blue

ORIGIN:  Nichols Garden Nursery, Albany, Oregon, 1998

FLOWER COLOR: dark blue

FOLIAGE COLOR:  gray-green

STEM LENGTH:  6-8"

BLOOMS:  once in early summer

PLANT HEIGHT:  30"

SPACING:  30-36"

HARDINESS:  zones 5-9

Betty's Blue is a great choice for crafts because of its deep blue color and tight flower heads.

  • Buena Vista

ORIGIN:  Donald Roberts, Premiier Botanicals, Independence, Oregon, 1981

FLOWER COLOR:  medium purple

FOLIAGE COLOR:  green

STEM LENGTH:  10-12"

BLOOMS:  continuously starting in spring

PLANT HEIGHT:  24-30"

SPACING:  30"

HARDINESS:  zones 5-9

Buena Vista is sought after for its sweet fragrance.  This continuous bloomer will blanket your garden in lavender all summer, and is a good choice for culinary use.

  • Folgate

ORIGIN:  Linn Chilvers, Norfolk, England, before 1933

FLOWER COLOR:  light blue

FOLIAGE COLOR:  gray-green

STEM LENGTH:  8-10"

BLOOMS:  once in early spring

PLANT HEIGHT:  30"

SPACING:30-36"

HARDINESS: zones 5-9

The flowers on Folgate appear to be an almost iridescent periwinkle blue.  Folgate is known to be particularly hardy in colder climates.

  • Hidcote Pink

ORIGIN:  Major Lawrence Johnston, Hidcote Manor, Gloucester, England, Before 1957(Johnston brought Hidcote to England from in the 1920s

FLOWER COLOR:  light pink

FOLIAGE COLOR:  green

STEM LENGTH:  6-8"

BLOOMS:  once in spring

PLANT HEIGHT:  30-36"

SPACING:  36"

HARDINESS:  zones 5-9

Hidcote Pink has a strong, sweet fragrance and is great for culinary use.

  • Purple Bouquet

ORIGIN: Sunshine herb Farm, Tenino, Washington, 2006

FLOWER COLOR:  dark purple

FOLIAGE COLOR:  gray-green

STEM LENGTH:  12-15"

BLOOMS:  twice starting in early summer

PLANT HEIGHT:  24-30"

SPACING:  30-36"

HARDINESS:  zones 5-9

The long, dark stems of Purple Bouquet make it a good choice for bouquets and crafts.

  • Royal Velvet

ORIGIN:  Van Hevelingen Herb Nursery, Newburg, oregon, 1980s

FLOWER COLOR:  dark blue

FOLIAGE COLOR:  gray-green

STEM LENGTH:  12-14"

BLOOMS:  twice starting in spring

PLANT HEIGHT:  24-30"

SPACING:  30-36"

HARDINESS:  zones 5-9

Royal Velvet is one of the best varieties for dried or fresh bouquets.

Lavendula xintermedia - Lavendula xintermedia varieties, or lavendins, are a cross betwen l.angustifolia and L.latifolia (spiked lavender).  they tend to grow larger, bloom later, and produce more spikes than other lavenders.  Their fragrance has a distinctive canphoric note, which means the oil has a somewhat woody undertone.  lavendins are the most widely distilled lavender, mainly because their oil yield can be up to five times L.angustifolia varieties.  They make a beautiful show in a garden and make a great choice for hedging as they can grow up to 48" high or higher, and produce long spikes up to 30". In recent years, new varieties have blessed us with darker more vibrant blooms, and there are even two white cultivars.  Most Lavendula xintermedia varieties are hard to zone 5.  they are resistant to certain types of fungal diseases in hot humid climates.

  • Edelweiss

ORIGIN:  possibly from The Herb Farm, Seal, Kent, England, 1960s

FLOWER COLOR:  white

FOLIAGE COLOR:  gray-green

STEM LENGTH:  18-24"

BLOOMS:  once in early summer

PLANT HEIGHT:  24-30"

SPACING:  30-36"

HARDINESS:  zones 5-9

With bright white flowers, Edelweiss has a habit similar to Grosso and has sometimes been referred to as Grosso White.  If you look at the flower spikes closely, they have a hint of blue along the calyxes are flower buds.  Edelweiss has also been called Caty Blanc in the trade, but Caty Blanc is different in that the calyxes have a pink instead of blue tint.

  • Grosso

ORIGIN:  Pierre Grosso, Vaucluse District, France, about 1972

FLOWER COLOR:  Purple

FOLIAGE COLOR:  gray-green

STEM LENGTH:  20-24"

BLOOMS:  once in early summer

PLANT HEIGHT:  30-36"

SPACING:  36"

HARDINESS:  zones 5-9

The bloom habit of Grosso creates an almost perfect 180-degree dome, like a hedgehog.  The flower spikes are a bit darker than those of Fat Spike.  this variety has the highest oil content of all lavenders, and more than 70% of lavender oil produced in the world comes from Grosso.

  • Hidcote Giant

ORIGIN:  Major Lawrence Johnston, Hidcote Manor, Gloucester, England, Before 1957

FLOWER COLOR:  medium purple

FOLIAGE COLOR:  gray-green

STEM LENGTH:  24-30"

BLOOMS:  once in early summer

PLANT HEIGHT: 36-42"

SPACING:  42-48"

HARDINESS:  zones 5-9

The flower heads of Hidcote Giant are amazingly large and plump.  The flower fragrance is strong.

  • Impress Purple

ORIGIN:  France via New Zealand, 1983; named by peter Smale, Red Bank Research Center, New Zealand, 1994

FLOWER COLOR:  purple

FOLIAGE COLOR:  gray-green

STEM LENGTH:  20-24"

BLOOMS:  once in early summer

PLANT HEIGHT:  30-36"

SPACING:  36-42"

HARDINESS:  zones 5-9

Impress Purple is a great choice for fresh bouquets.  the dusty purple spikes appear brushed with silver when held up to the sun.


The Many Uses of Lavender Oil

Here are some uses for lavender oil around the home:

  • Add a few drops to your mop water for fragrance and antiseptic benefits.

  • Put some in your bath water.

  • Add a few drops to your massage oil.

  • Add to a diffuser and fill your room with the scent of lavender.

  • Keep it in your medicine cabinet for burns, cuts, insect bites, and to help reduce scarring.

  • Use it as a solvent to remove glue left over from price stickers or labels.

  • Add a few drops of oil to a compress to ease a headache.

  • Dab a few drops behind your ears to use a natural cologne.

  • Add a few drops to steaming water and lean over it, covering your head with a towel, to give yourself a facial or help clear congestion.

  • Add it to any natural facemask to detoxify and shrink pores.

  • Mix it with water and apply to sunburned skin to help cool the burn.

  • Put a few drops on your dog or cat bed as a flea repellant and as a natural sleep aid.

  • mix a few drops with olive oil for a hair tonic.  It will leave your hair silky and disinfect your scalp (it will kill lice, lice eggs, and nits).

  • Put a few drops on the affected area to help control athlete's foot, eczema, dermatitis, and acne with its antibacterial and antiseptic properties.

  • Put a few drops on a clean cloth, tossed into your dryer and infuse the scent of lavender into your laundry.

  • Dab a few drops on pressure points to relieve anxiety, depression, emotional stress, and exhaustion.