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Brian Minter: Lots to love with lavenders

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La ‘Big Time Blue’ (Zone 5) is another larger variety that grows up to 24 inches tall with its medium blue flowers contrasted by distinct silver leaves. It blooms from May to August.

‘Sweet Romance’ (Zone 5) is one of the earliest lavenders to bloom, with rich purple flowers contrasting with gray-green foliage. La ‘SuperBlue’ (Zone 5a) grows around 12 to 18 inches tall and is named for its huge flowers on short flower stalks that provide color from April to September. In the Pennsylvania State University lavender trials, it was a top performer who was rated 4.7 out of 5 in the “Best of Species” competition.

Compact varieties often work best in small gardens. One of the smallest is La ‘Thumbelina Leigh’, which grows to only nine inches. It is a bloomer from June to August with fragrant foliage and deep purple flowers.

Spanish lavender is also known as butterfly lavender - its flags look like little butterflies resting.  Image: Minter Country Garden.  For 0704 col minterSpanish lavender is also known as butterfly lavender because its flags look like little butterflies that are resting. Image: Minter Country Garden. Photo by Minter Country Garden /.jpg

Among the Spanish or Stoechas lavender varieties, the Anouk series is one of the toughest (zone 6a) and has the longest flowering and most weather-resistant characteristics. They are ideal container plants for sunny areas, but they need well-drained soil for optimal performance.

‘Anouk Supreme’ flowers about a week earlier than its predecessors. ‘Deep Rose’ bears rich rose flags; ‘Double Anouk’ is exactly what its name suggests – a very complete look – and ‘Silver Anouk’ has contrasting silver leaves. Anouk has white “flags” that nicely accentuate the blue flowers on the bud below.

All lavenders need a sunny location and very good drainage. They do not like wet feet or tolerate saturated soils, and they do not like wet leaves. So if you give them something to drink, just water the bottom and, if possible, only at the beginning of the day. Good airflow is also important to prevent diseases such as powdery mildew.

These are just a few of the many beautiful varieties of lavender available today. They are all now in full bloom and are available at most gardening stores. Check out these stunning strains and add them to your summer garden or patio pots.

Lavenders are beautiful plants that both gardeners and pollinators enjoy.

Lavender en masse looks amazing, even if most of us don't have room for a full field.  Image: Minter Country Garden.  For 0704 col minterLavender en masse looks amazing, even if most of us don’t have room for a full field. Image: Minter Country Garden. Photo by Minter Country Garden /.jpg

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Robert Dunfee