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Featured Plant



Scientific Name: Lavandula spp.

Common Names: Lavender

Family: Lamiaceae

Plant Type: Annuals and perennials, herbaceous plants, subshrubs, and small shrubs

Environment: Two basic requirements are full sun and good drainage. Lavenders are quite hardy, though, and can withstand fairly extreme weather conditions, and are known to be rather drought tolerant once established.

Bloom: From Summer to Autumn, with some speices blooming longer periods. Inflorescence is a spike bearing a number of single stalkless flowers. Flower color can range from white and pink to many shades of blue and violet.

Uses: Lavender is one of the most versatile of all herbs. Grow lavender as a specimen or border plant or formally as a hedging or topiary. Smaller plants may be suitable for growing in pots, larger plants can be grown in containers until about 2 years old. Lavender is often planted and used for it's fragrant, medicinal, and culinary uses.
Looks best in a mass planting ; excellent for rock garden planting


  • Prune lavender yearly to maintain plant health and full flowering by cutting back at least 1/3 of the plant in mid-autumn.

  • It is thought that lavender use dates back to ancient Greek and Roman times with the Romans introducing it to England.

  • Check out the many great Lavender resources at the Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture including 'Lavender: The Grower's Guide', by Virginia McNaughton

  • A quick 'how-to' on drying Lavender


Lavandula is located in the Garden of Fragrance




Lavender is a sweet scented herb that grows widely around the Mediterranean. It is native to tropical Africa and SE India as well. Its cultivation is as ancient as civilization itself. The Romans associated it with bathing (Lavare - to wash) providing the origin of its basic name. Lavender's two - lipped asymmetrical spikes of fragrant violet flowers open in succession from a calyx or cup. Every part of the plant is fragrant, but it is the calyx, not the flowers that provide the best scent and are best for sachets. There are approximately 28 species of lavender and over 200 varieties. The leaves age to a pale grey, and are linear and hairy, strategic assets for survival in hot dry places. The fragrant scent actually makes it unappetizing to insects and foragers.

In the sunny fields of Provence, France, hundreds of acres of Lavender (L. x intermedia) bloom. This hybrid lavender, crossed naturally by nature, was discovered in 1930 by French farmers and found to be far superior in scent to those of L. augustifolia or L. latifolia, its parents. The hybrid is called “Big Lavender” or “Lavandin” for the strength of fragrance in its oil, an essential ingredient for the perfume factories at Grasse, and the 2000 employees they hire.

The Fragrance Garden, is filled with many fragrant plants and herbs including Lavandula, Spanish lavender in particular. This garden is especially designed for those with impaired vision, who can touch and smell the many ornamental and medicinal plants that grow there.


Photos by Docent Joanne Taylor; profile by David Kruse-Pickler