One of the Lavandula angustifolias or English lavenders, Munstead Lavender is a fragrant robust lavender that, due to its short size and tightly held blooms, makes a great hedge. It flowers profusely in the spring, after which a good pruning will provide an attractive grey bush with highly aromatic leaves. Munstead Lavender is named from Munstead Woods, the home of famous garden designer Gertrude Jekyll. Tolerating summer heat the best of all of the above English Lavenders. Munstead Lavender is a good choice for hedges, along pathways and around knot gardens. It is also a good culinary and medicinal plant.
Sowing: Late winter to late spring (Feb to April) or sow in late summer to autumn (Aug to Oct) Lavender can be sown at anytime of year but prefers the ground temperature to be around 13 to 18°C (55 to 65°F). Sow seed on the surface of a well drained, seed compost in pots or trays. Cover seed with a light sprinkling of compost or vermiculite. Keep at a temperature of between 15 to 20°C (59 to 68°F). Germination in 21 to 90 days. When large enough to handle, transplant seedlings into 7.5cm (3in) pots. Acclimatise to outdoor conditions for 10 to 15 days before planting out after all risk of frost, 45cm (18in) apart. For best results, provide any ordinary, well-drained soil in full sun.
Cultivation: Lavenders do best in moderately fertile, well-drained, alkaline soils in full sun. Once established they thrive on poor, dry, stony soils, but do not tolerate water logging. In poorly-drained soils plant on a mound or, in the case of hedging, on a ridge which will keep the base of the plants out of saturated soil. On heavier soils consider adding large quantities of gravel to improve drainage. It will grow in slightly acid soils. Adequate spacing is essential to provide good air circulation. For informal plantings allow up to 90cm (36in). Where grown as a hedge, plant about 30cm (12in) apart or 45cm (18in) apart for taller cultivars. Prune back to encourage bushy growth. Although lavenders are drought-tolerant, they need watering until established. Avoid high-nitrogen fertilisers. Lavenders grow well in containers but are deep rooted and need large pots with a diameter of 30 to 45cm (12 to 18in). Use a loam-based compost such as John Innes No. 3 with added coarse grit for drainage and a controlled-release fertiliser. Plants will need regular watering in summer, but should be kept on the dry side over winter.
Pruning: Lavenders should be pruned every year to keep them in a tidy shrub form. Pruning or trimming should be done each year in late summer, as soon as the blooms have faded, so that the bushes have time to make a little new growth before winter. On established plants use secateurs to remove flower stalks and about 2.5cm (1in) of the current year’s growth, making sure that some green growth remains. Hard pruning is sometimes done in April, but this means the loss of a season’s flowers.
Harvesting: Harvesting Lavender is one of the most enjoyable pleasures any gardener can have. Lavender flower heads look grey before the flowers open. Cut lavender stems when the lowest blossom opens. Make the cut slightly above the first set of leaves leaving a stem length suitable for a vase or whatever flower arrangement you choose. The colour will be more vivid when dried. Cut the flower stems during the cool of the morning after the dew has dried. The fragrance is the strongest then, and the blossoms will keep most of the perfume oils present, even when dried. Keep cutting blooming stems to encourage more growth. Plants can flower up to three times during a summer. Tie the stems in small bunches and hang upside down in a warm dark place for the deepest colour and to prevent them from bending. More essential oils will be retained, too. Use a dark, dry, airy room for fast drying. It will take about a week for the flowers to completely dry.
Plant Uses: Banks and Slopes, City/Courtyard Gardens, Coastal, Cottage/Informal Garden, Drought Resistant, Flowers Borders and Beds, Garden Edging, Gravel Garden, Mediterranean, Patio/Container Plants, Rock Garden or Wildlife Gardens. Aromatherapy, Culinary uses, Moth and Insect repellent.
As an Insecticide: Simply planting lavender within your garden works as a natural insecticide, simply because of its fragrance, which insects despise. Planting lavender around plants that are prone to insect infestation helps keep bugs at bay. Dried lavender flowers are traditionally used for filling sachets and for placing amongst linen. The dried flower can be simply placed inside drawers or closets repels moths and it makes your clothes small great.
Other Uses: Lavender is a popular herb for the garden it is prized for both its fragrance and its colour. Lavender is popular amongst beekeepers and produces a delicately scented honey. The flowers are rich in essential oil which is obtained by distillation. Lavender oil is used extensively in perfumery, Roses and Lavender, with a little mint and some lemon juice to activate the alkaloids can make both a brilliant pink dye and very tasty pink lemonade.
Nomenclature: Lavender gets its name from the Latin word lavare, which means to wash. In ancient times, Romans used the aromatic herb to scent their bathwater. The species name angustifolia means 'having narrow foliage'. This cultivar is named after Munstead Woods, the home of Gertrude Jekyll, 1843-1932. 'Miss' Jekyll, as she was known was probably the most respected gardener of her time, her influence on the art of gardening is evident throughout the world today. She designed about 400 gardens but, because so few survive and only a handful are accurately restored, it is by her books and articles that she is best remembered. She taught the world the full craft and art of gardening. She appreciated the beauty of both natural and formal styles and explained the importance of structure, proportion, colour, scent and texture in gardens of almost any scale. Her younger brother, the Reverend Walter Jekyll, was a friend of Robert Louis Stevenson, who borrowed the family name for his famous novel Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Munstead is not a village, but simply an area of thickly wooded hills above the town of Godalming in Surrey. In the late C19 it became famous for the country houses built there, largely by Edwin Lutyens and largely under the sponsorship of Gertrude Jekyll. Munstead Wood is Gertrude Jekyll's own house designed for her and completed in 1896. It is set in a large wooded garden developed by Jekyll over many years. The house was built of local Bargate sandstone and weathered tiles so that the house would not look 'new'. At Munstead Wood Lutyens's distinctive free Tudor style is already fully formed - though not fully worked out- in a kind of small-scale anticipation of the masterpieces of the next few years. When they met, Lutyens was a young and relatively unknown architect; Jekyll an older unmarried woman who had turned from painting to garden design. It was an unlikely meeting of minds, but together they transformed garden and home design and left an enduring legacy. Munstead Wood is an iconic landmark of the Arts and Crafts movement.
|Packet Size||60 Seeds|
|Average Seed Count||No|
|Common Name||English Lavender|
|Other Common Names||No|
|Flowers||Mid to late Spring|
|Natural Flower Time||No|
|Foliage||Evergreen, narrow grey-green leaves|
|Height||30-45cm (12-18in) can grow to 1m if not pruned|
|Time to Harvest||No|
|Position||Prefers Full Sun, Sheltered|
|Soil||Well-drained/light, Chalky/alkaline, Dry, Sandy|
|Time to Sow||No|
|Germination||21 – 90 Days|
|Notes||Herb, Evergreen Shrub. (Hardy)|