My Self-Seeded Lavender Hell

I grow lavender. We’ve established that. I have over 50 plants in the front garden – Imperial Gem, if you’re interested. I chose that variety because the flowers are a particularly deep blue – nothing wishy-washy about them – and the plant’s habit is notoriously compact. The flowers look super against the brickwork of my house and against the lush green of the buxus, and the little guys seem very happy in my mostly west-facing front garden, which gets all the afternoon light but is disproportionately warm because it’s mostly gravel.

Imperial gem lavender, self seeded and transplanted

A couple of months ago I weeded the front garden. The presence of a few monster dandelions earlier this week alerted me to the fact that it’s a job which needs doing again. The buxus needs neatening up as well, so out I trot with my little topiary shears and … well. When you get right down to it, the gravel looks like this:

Self-seeded Imperial Gem lavender

Look at the little bastards, lined up against the path, there!

Imperial Gem

INAPPROPRIATE LAVENDER. Of all the varieties I have grown in my life – and believe me, I’m a lavender slut, there have been quite a few – I have never known one as wilfully, relentlessly, irresponsibly fecund as Imperial Gem. That’s normal sized gravel, so the plantlets are tiny, but I can tell you from experience that since they’ve seeded straight onto gravel, their roots will already be well down in the substrate.

It’s Provence, out there. If Provence involved more swearing and raking.

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10 Responses to My Self-Seeded Lavender Hell

  1. antarabesque says:

    No lavender here, the smell conjures memories of cheap soap and disappointing Christmas gifts. I can relate, my ‘gravel’ is filled with yellow blooming sedum. It has actually escaped into the grass. The things we do for love.

    • chiller says:

      cheap soap and disappointing Christmas gifts

      … thanks. Or something. 😉

      I have creeping buttercup in my lawn. Creeping buttercup is the most evil weed I have ever encountered.

      • antarabesque says:

        It was no reflection on your favourites, sorry if you took it that way. Funny how our experiences result in vastly different preferences. The colour contrasts in the pictures are stunning.

      • chiller says:

        😉 No, I was pulling your leg.

        I know what you mean, but I find the scent of fresh lavender differs from the scent of dried, and most toiletries seem to smell more like the dried stuff, to my nose – sort of a dead smell with no backbone to it. Powdery. The main reason I put in so much lavender was for the bees – they go nuts for it! I end up with the whole front garden buzzing, which is lovely.

      • antarabesque says:

        Next time I see some at the garden centre I’ll check out the smell. Bees are the perfect excuse to change my mind. 🙂

      • chiller says:

        If you can, try to smell a few different varieties side by side. I find that, as with rosemary, one variety often smells quite different from another (I grow one rosemary here that smells like camphor/mothballs – it’s useless for cooking with – and another variety that’s absolutely gorgeous in the kitchen).

        Imperial Gem has a nice, quite sharp smell, whereas some of the older varieties (Munstead, Hidcote etc) do tend to err more towards “granny’s handbag”.

      • antarabesque says:

        Thank you for the advice. It is exactly “granny’s handbag” I am trying to avoid. :D!

  2. elaine4queen says:

    look at the little boo boos!

  3. Urgh! The old house had gravel paths that filled up with sawdust when they cut down the gumtrees. Can you imagine what they were then like to weed? Last weekend I ended up forking the whole thing over, raking it and then hosing it down as that was easier than trying to get the grass out.

    Also, that is amazingly fecund for lavender! I’ve never had it go feral on me. Feral fennel is the problem here!

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