Amongst the myriad of fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and creatures in the garden (both friends and foes), we’ve made way for Lavandula angustifolia. Lavandula is lavender, not only the color but the flowering plants with a genus of 39 known species. I was surprised to learn that lavender is also from the mint family…
A post or two ago, I wrote about “The Bee Friendly Garden…” and kindly asked that everyone bee kind to the bees, please! With that, we’ve since introduced lavender to our garden and landscape. These showy, tall stemmed flowers attract welcomed winged, garden friendly guests…hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees. I’ve even read (although, not confirmed), that lavender can deter scorpions.
Encouraging beneficial guests to a garden or landscape helps to organically keep pests at bay while also allowing pollinators to do their magic (like our friends the bees!). This is especially important and necessary for our fruit trees. Even self-pollinating trees benefit from the additional assistance from our buzzing, winged friends.
As you might imagine, I’m enjoying sitting close to the new garden additions with my camera to try capturing the flying passerbyers from behind the lens. All is enjoyable so far and hopefully these bees won’t turn their attentions on my paparazzi behavior and deliver me a stinger (if anything must be delivered…make mine with fresh mint and shaken not stirred, please!)!
The lavender throughout this set of images in this post is a Spanish-type lavender (Lavandula stoechas) with shorter flower heads and crowned with paper-like bracts that resemble petals. Not as fragrant as other varieties, but this particular species loves our hot weather and will do well when our temperatures drop much colder than most of the San Diego area. The inconspicuous grayish-green leaves and spots of top color makes for an attractive addition to our landscape.
From what I’ve read, and so far have experienced, lavender is an easy plant for a Southern California garden and quite drought friendly. It enjoys full sun and depending on the species, will reward you with its vibrant colors a good part of the year.
We’ll be adding more lavender of the Hidcote variety from an organic source. Hidcote lavender is one of the cold hardiest varieties of the English lavenders. It is deeper dark purple, known for its fragrance, used in potpourri and often used in dried-flower arrangements. Although a Hidcote cultivar is good for culinary purposes, it’s the Munstead variety that is more widely used [Note to self:
“must find an organic source for some Munstead, as well!” UPDATE: Found an organic seed source here…on its way! ].
Are you an admirer of Mediterranean gardens? Mediterranean gardens are inspired by the coastal areas of Italy, Spain, and France. A garden themed from the Mediterranean region includes some of these characteristics (to name a few):
- Cold Hardy
- Drought tolerant
- Tough and hardy in general
- Casually elegant
- Assortment of plants, rich with textures and colors
- Use of architectural elements and terra cotta
- Herb gardens
- Fruit trees
Lavender is just one of the many favorites used in Mediterranean gardens, especially loved for their versatile use for culinary, decor and landscaping desired elements.
Read more about lavender with this visual guide from Better Homes and Gardens – “A Gardener’s Guide to Lavender.”
Don’t forget to pick-out or find the bee in each of the images – and remember, “bee” friendly to our bees, please!!