Lavandula ‘Hidcote’

Lavandula ‘Hidcote’ is a favourite and easily recognizable lavender, for it is the variety with the darkest flowers, a deep purple. It is one of the best for a small garden, making a compact, shrubby plant 18 inches (45 cm) high, ideal for a low, neat hedge. It is not, however, the most highly scented. For scent, L spica, or L angustifolia, the ‘old English lavender’, is better, a larger, sprawlier plant with fewer flowers, but these of true lavender blue, and with very narrow grey leaves. It is the lavender traditionally used for drying, for which purpose the flowers should be picked in the bud.

Plant dwarf lavenders 12 inches (30 cm) apart in the sun in well-drained soil, the taller kinds 18 inches (45 cm) apart. Deadhead in autumn after flowering, and clip the plants hard in early spring. If not used for hedges, lavenders make attractive groups in a border, or a short row of from four to six plants could be planted under each front window of your house. Lavenders are not long-lived, but cuttings taken in summer strike easily in a frame, or even in the open ground, so that you will have young plants to replace the old ones when, after four or five years, they have grown woody and brittle.

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