Let's Talk About Lavender!
Lavender (Lavendula) would make a good synonym for aroma, fragrance and relaxation, considering how abundantly it is used for the therapeutic properties of its essential oils. Its documented history dates back over 2,000 years ago. Lavenders are extensively cultivated for its commercial use in many European countries as well in the U.S.A. There are around 39 species of Lavender.
Let’s zoom into French/ Spanish Lavender: Lavendula stoechas, which has a deep fragrance and ruffled leaves. "Although it tolerates a range of situations, it is usually found in full sun in hot, sunny conditions with dry low-organic matter alkaline soil. Shear back lightly after summer bloom to encourage bushy growth and shorter flower stems. These plants do not like to be cut back to the ground and will often die after doing so." Source
French Lavenders also comes with flower petals in white color 'Alba', but the most common one is the 'Anouk' variety with deep dark purple color. Lavenders are relatively easy to grow, if you give them the right conditions. They don’t need much at all to thrive. Full sun, high pH and, rocky conditions for excellent drainage, all most drought like conditions, so much that they won’t even mind being neglected.
Do You Love Mint?
What’s Mint (Mentha piperita) got to do with Lavender? The growth habits of Mentha and Lavendula are very different. They wouldn't pair well at all growing next to each other and certainly are not good habitat companions.
But Mentha and Lavendula sure pair well in any drink! A fresh lemonade with crushed lavender flowers and mint, makes a refreshing summer drink and this agua fresca is therapeutic in its own way. Retail nurseries are nowadays selling mixed herb planters for making your own drinks. Many are good combinations. But make sure that when you buy these mixed herb planters, that they are compatible companions in the same habitats as well.
More Lavender Pairings
Boulders, rocks and sunshine are indeed excellent companions for any Lavender species. Add Himalayan rock salt and crushed Lavender leaves and flowers and, the compounds, such as eucalyptol, linalool and terpineol in Lavendula's essential oil will take it to another level.
Currently, the rock berm at London Town is coming alive with bold Irises (left), Dianthus (middle) and Euphorbias (right), but Lavendula stoechas is doing its very best. It is a very rewarding early May bloomer.