Close your eyes for a moment and conjure up an image of soft, warm French sunlight and a sea of waving lavender stretching across a hillside – the perfect picture of Provence. Like to go there? Better still, like to bring the sights and fragrances of it home to enjoy everyday? Good news , with lavender, you can do just that.
Colours and shapes
Lavender is the heart and soul of a Mediterranean garden, but it's an easy plant to grow in the UK. Plant lavender and you’ll get to enjoy its colour and scent, with the bonus of biodiversity too, in the form of beautiful butterflies that will delight children and adults alike.
For the full ‘Mediterranean’ effect, seek out species that love it here in the UK, like Lavandula stoechas, with its aromatic scent and striking purple flowers. Lavandula angustifolia is also a beauty, as is Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ which is also known as English Lavender – even though it originated in France! It is ideal for cutting and drying indoors, and looks and smells wonderful.
Ideas for lavender
- Bring cuttings inside and extend your enjoyment into the home. Dry cuttings or prunings in bunches and enjoy in the bedroom or bathroom – a soporific waft of lavender scent is perfect for soothing you when sleeping of bathing.
- Dried lavender is ideal for blending with coarse sea salt (one part lavender to 10 parts salt) to bring a surprising flavor to new potatoes or for mixing with garlic to season summer roast lamb.
- Simply arranging some fresh lavender in a vase and putting on the table will bring a feeling of that French hillside right into your home.