Lavender:  (Lavandula)  Full sun  Hardy in zones 5-9.  The “true” or common English lavender is the species angustifolia, but there are many others that are similar in the family.  A highly fragrant, hardy native perennial that is very drought tolerant.  The plants are rather shrubby but compact, with silvery green foliage and slender flower spikes of blue or purples in summer.  Many are only hardy to zones 6 or 7.  These “true” lavenders are the sweetest smelling of the lavenders.  Lavandula stems are used as herbs, dried flowers are used as potpourri and as medicinal teas, and oils are used in aromatherapy.  All prefer full sun and dry soil, and are heat and drought resistant.  The fragrant flowers attract butterflies and are excellent for cut and dried arrangements.  Harvest the blooms when in fresh bud and dry by hanging in a warm shady place.


‘Hidcote’ is a dwarf variety of common Lavender, and is considered one of the hardiest of the English Lavenders.  The flower spikes are a bright, but dark purple.  It is the deepest shade of nearly navy blue of all the lavenders, and contrasts beautifully with the silvery foliage.  Blooming begins in June and continues through August.  The leaves and the blooms are highly aromatic.   ‘Hidcote’ lavendar needs full sun most of the day.  It requires little attention, is drought tolerant, and will tolerate dry soil.  It does, however, prefer moist but well drained soil.  Overly moist soil may lead to root rot.  Little or no fertilizing is required.  Sheer back by about a third either after blooming or in early spring while it is still dormant.  ‘Hidcote will reach 1 - 1/2 feet tall with an equal spread.  The non-dwarf variety is ‘Hidcote Giant’.  Hardy in zones 5 - 8, but zone 5 winters may stress the plant.  Plant in a sheltered spot or winter protect.


‘Blue Cushion’ is a spectacular dwarf with free flowering, deep “true blue” blooms from early to late summer.  The flowers fade to light blue and then to gray.  The nicely mounded plant grows to 16” high and spreads 16 - 24”.  ‘Blue Cushion’ prefers light sandy soil that is slightly alkaline.  Grow in full sun to light shade.  It is drought resistant and requires very little water or fertilizer.  Sheer spent blooms or cut back by one third and prune to shape after blooming or in very early spring while still dormant to refresh the plant.  The foliage is evergreen in warmer climates, so you may prefer to wait until spring to sheer back.  Hardy in zones 5 - 8.


‘Munstead’ is a very popular compact lavender with slightly lighter blooms than ‘Hidcote’.  The lavender blue blooms appear early, usually in May, and continue through August.  Removing faded blooms with encourage continued blooming.  ‘Munstead’ lavender is of course heat and drought tolerant, but will be somewhat tolerant of humidity.  However, it does prefer dry conditions so plant in full sun in warm dry soil.  ‘Munstead’ is semi-woody and grows to 12 - 18” tall with a similar spread.  The gray green foliage is evergreen in warmer climates.  It’s short and compact size makes it a nice selection for a hedge.  Attracts bees and butterflies.  Hardy in zones 5b -9.


‘Grosso’ is a Lavandula intermedia’ which is a French hybrid Lavender, not an English.  It may also be known as ‘Lavandin’.  ‘Grosso’ is very long stemmed with the darkest blue purple blooms of the French Lavenders.  A vigorous bloomer, the flowers are strongly lavender scented with a hint of camphor, blooming in June through August.  For dried arrangements, ‘Grosso’ is one of the best, and it is a major source of French lavender oils.  Also a beautiful addition to bouquets.  Like the English Lavenders, ‘Grosso’ is tolerant of drought, heat and poor soil, prefers full sun and dry well drained, neutral to alkaline soil.  Plant in full sun.  This large lavender grows to 30” high and spreads 24 - 30”.  To keep its size controlled, prune when blooming is finished.  It is one of the most cold tolerant of the French lavenders, being hardy in zones 5 - 10.  Foliage is evergreen in the warmer regions.


‘Rosea’ is also known as ‘Loddon Pink’ or ‘Jean Davis’.  It has soft pink blooms that combine with the silvery green foliage for a romantic effect.  Bloom period is from June to July or August.  ‘Rosea’ has a tidy growth habit with dense foliage.  It shears well into a tighter mound or sphere if desired.  Cut back spent blooms to refresh the plant and encourage blooming.  Cutting flower stalks for drying or for arrangements produces the same result.  This medium size English Lavender reaches about 15 -24” high and spreads 12 - 15”.  Plant in full sun in well drained, dry soil.  ‘Rosea’ is very appealing grown with roses.  Attracts bees and butterflies.  Hardy in zones 5 - 8.