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Growing Your Own Lavender

Lavender is a shrubby plant that grows easily, and its color and fragrance make a beautiful addition to any flower garden or landscaping plan. If you want to add a few lavender plants to your outdoor space, buy your lavender stock from a reputable nursery in the spring or summer, choosing larger plants that are in four-inch to one-gallon containers. Plant your lavender in well-drained soil in a sunny area, but avoid open areas that are subject to wind, so that during storms, the long-stalked flowers won't be broken off. Follow planting instructions for your area and climate, positioning plants about 12 inches apart.

After planting, mulch with organic compost and water until the soil is completely moist -- but avoid watering them in the summer, as lavender thrives in dry soil. Although full flowering could occur as early as the second year, it often takes a couple of growing seasons for the plant to be fully established. When the flowers are in bloom, be sure to enjoy them -- brush your hand across the plants as you walk by to release the wonderful aroma, or better yet, take a good book and a lawn chair to the garden and enjoy the scent for an entire afternoon!

You'll want to keep your lavender pruned to stimulate new growth and to also keep it from sprawling and falling open with a big, gaping hole in the center. Prune in the early spring or fall to two-thirds of its size, leaving a couple of inches of green above the woody stems.

A special plant

There are few plants that can rival the accomplishments of lavender. Throughout history, its beauty, stature, fragrance, and incredible diversity have nurtured, protected and delighted us, while also bringing serenity and joy. It is truly one of nature's greatest gift.


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