Thursday, 4th June 2020
GARDEN Article

This Month's Magazine
Lavender on the Costa del sol

Lavender on the Costa del sol

“We should all be concerned about our water usage; our gardens are often not very water-wise”. Says Natalie from the Agave Garden Co.

The increasing popularity of ‘Xeriscaping’ is a great way to both save money and do our bit for the environment. The word Xeriscaping was coined by combining xeros (Greek for "dry") with landscape. Basically xeriscaping is using plants whose natural requirements are appropriate to the local climate, and care is taken to avoid using excessive water. Plants used in xeriscaping vary depending upon the climate in which they are used.

We are big fans of using xeric techniques here at Agave, and we try to incorporate this wherever possible, one of our favourites is lavender. Used together with similarly xeric plants such as rosemary, verbena, cistus, nepeta or santolina, it is possible to create a colourful, fragrant and water wise landscape.

Wonderful Lavenders - Among the most versatile, beautiful and easy xeric plants to grow here on the Costa are the lovely Lavenders.  Lavender has been known and used for centuries for so many different purposes - decorative, medicinal, and agricultural, to mention but a few.  There is still nothing better to take the bite out of a burn or bee sting than lavender essential oil, it provides instant relief, and helps the skin heal quickly.

The lavender scent is one of the most beautiful of all and varies from deep and musky to sweet and spicy. The colours of this versatile plant are also well prized, with flowers that range from white (Alba), soft pale lilac (stoechas) to a beautiful dark purple-blue (angustafolia) and the soft foliage that ranges from a real sea green to light silver (dentata). The lavender variety provides dramatic, consistent colour and form to a garden's structure in all seasons; it has a long life span and requires little maintenance.

Lavender Care
Caring for lavender is easy. These plants require little water once established, watering weekly when it is really hot outside will be enough, lavenders don't like to have their feet constantly wet. These plants aren't susceptible to insect damage, and provide food for important pollinators like bees and butterflies throughout most of the season. After the first early summer bloom, dead heading will usually stimulate a second bloom that lasts right into the autumn season. Pruning them back in the spring will encourage healthy new growth each year and lots of fragrance and flowers in the garden.

Planting Lavender
Lavender needs to be planted in full sun with good air circulation and fast draining, soil. Lavender will tolerate clay soil in our dry climate.  Coarse textured compost can be added at planting time to loosen up heavier soils. Five centimetres of very coarse sand or small gravel around the base of the plant will keep the crown drier and promote a healthier plant.
Water deeply but infrequently after the second growing season. Take care not to over water established plants.
To enjoy the scent inside too, just cut a few flowers and leave them to dry in a cool, shady place. The scent will calm you, lavender has long been known for its relaxing properties. A few sprigs inside a pillow case will aid restful sleep.


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