Lavender Companions, Horticulturally Speaking.
I do love lavender. I admit that perhaps, at times, I’ve gone to extremes in my efforts to make it mine. I am a little crazy…yes, true…But. At least I’m nice about it.
I make sure that my lavender has good friends, that it blooms in the best society.
Or at least in the best society I can contrive on a budget, with just two small dirt stained hands and no traveller’s cheques (traveller’s cheques: an oblique reference, extravagantly spelled, to passionate garden collectors, who travel distant lands and scale high ledges in search of exotica to add to their horticultural repertoire. A fancy collector I am not).
Still, my lavender companions are great company.
My current garden is in its early stages of development. Contrary to what HGTV might have us believe (and I am a helpless fan of HGTV), a garden doesn’t happen in an afternoon with a wheelbarrow and the smiling sweat of an attractive khaki clad crew. Perennials take a couple years to fill out, looking truly magnificent in three; shrubs come into their own in five. And trees… well. I have yet to plant a tree and stay in that garden long enough to bask in its shade. Not to mention learning curves, bug devastation, weed invasions…or the concept of very gradual garden establishment as time and budget allow (which are all my realities; how about you?).
All of which is to say, Lavender companions at my place are in a state of flux and development.
For instance. I’m learning that while I love how annual geraniums (pelargonium) and simple petunias look nestled up to lavender, their needs are different enough that someone always suffers a bit if they’re too close. Lavender needs a lot less water and nutrients than these pretty annuals. I still keep a few hanging out together in the ground, but a better scenario for my garden: potted annuals in the proximity of permanent lavender.
Here are a few lavender companions that have been getting along well these last couple of years in my Utah garden:
I love sedum; it is culturally adaptable, favoring a leaner, dryer soil like its lavender friend. And its chubby, broader texture is a lovely foil for lavender’s fine flower spikes and foliage.
Coreopsis, Ornamental Grass
Threadleaf coreopsis also favors the same culture that lavender thrives in. The yellow flowers bloom all summer long, starting with lavender and cheerfully profuse way after lavender is done. I love how the yellow pops against the pale purple.
Lavender and ornamental grasses seem to me to be made for each other; their textures are a perfect marriage. I love pennisetums and lavender; this is stipa tenuissima, or angel hair grass. It reseeds almost invasively…except…not. Super easy to pull seedlings. And it grows in clumps; it doesn’t run.
Hymenoxys is a new plant for me, one I read about in a High Country Garden catalog. Just like the catalog claims, hymenoxys blooms all summer long. It is a tough native, very drought and heat tolerant, so its cultural needs match those of its lavender friend. And mine has begun (slowly, non-invasively) to reseed, which is exciting (more plants! for free!).
(all photos from my garden, this year! cropped carefully to avoid mention of weeds, bare dirt, children’s stray shoes and/or sidewalk chalk, neighbor’s houses)