Monday, September 14, 2009

Norfolk Lavender

A number of years ago I traveled to England, in part to see the renowned Norfolk Lavender fields - the oldest and largest fields of "English" Lavender of what was a substantial industry. English lavender [Lavandula angustifolia] really a type of lavender originally found in the wild in the mountains of northern France and traveled its way to England - perhaps via monks and their apothecary gardens.

I had a hidden agenda. I wanted them to carry my book The Lavender Garden in their gift shop. Mr. Head, carrying on the family tradition for at least four generations, perused the text. With a bit of anger he said "You say that lavender plants only last 8-10 years. We've got 25-year-old plants!" My response was that to say in the book that lavenders live to be 25 would greatly disappointed the gardener that doesn't reach that lofty goal. I said if I say 8-10 years and the gardener gets more than 10 years of healthy growth they'll be proud. He didn't buy my defense and they never carried the book.

The photo on the right is my current early fall pruning of a 18 year-old Spanish lavender [Lavandula stoechas]. It won't last much longer as the trees have grown so high the plant isn't getting enough light to keep it from being leggy. Alas "only" 18 years. Still a good run in our wet climate with 50+ inches of Mediterranean rain each winter.

Please post a comment - I want to know what you think.

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NOTE: The comments section at the bottom of the post has disappeared. Click on the "___ Comments" button or the title under the "Blog Archives". Thanks, Robert

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