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Make it your garden of varities

May 01, 2003|Emily Green

When planning a lavender garden, think of the qualities you want: fragrance here, a tall show there, a butterfly garden over there. Then look for the plants. To help, here we parade `varieties in a shameless beauty contest.

Fragrance: English lavender (L. angustifolia) and French lavender (L. dentata). Oregon breeder Jim Becker singles out the cultivar 'Irene Doyle.' Santa Ynez lavender farmer Rona Barrett commends two violet-flowered crossbreeds: 'Grosso' and 'Provence.'

Cooking: English lavender because of the lower camphor content and sweeter flavor.

Drying: English and French lavenders for scent, L. angustifolia ('Royal Velvet') and 'Hidcote' for the bluest blues.

Flower shape: The perfume of these three feather- and fern-leaved lavenders won't win any prizes, but their electric blue, candelabra-shaped flowers will. Lavandula pinnata, L. canariensis and L. multifida bloom continuously. Favorites of hummingbirds.

For bees and butterflies: Spike lavender, or L. latifolia, L. x. hydrophylla, or 'Sweet Lavender,' a French lavender cross, and English lavender L. angustifolia ('Twickel Purple').

Year-round show: In Los Angeles, all French lavender (L. dentata) and French lavender hybrids bloom continuously. 'Goodwin Creek Grey' has silver foliage, deep purple flowers and fragrance.

Dwarfs: L. angustifolia 'Munstead,' 'Compacta' and 'Hidcote,' along with the pink 'Jean Davis' and the white 'Nana Alba.'

-- Emily Green

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