Tagawa Gardens Blog

Love lavender? Now is the purr-fect time to plant!

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Lavender loves Colorado, and Tagawa Gardens loves lavender!  That’s why we have our “Lavender Fields Forever” celebration every summer.

This year’s event is Saturday, July 14.  We’ll have free classes on how to grow lavender, how to harvest this beautiful herb, and how to use it medicinally.  Class details are on our Calendar at TagawaGardens.com

Lavender is easier to grow than you might think!

Just because lavender is beautiful and smells so delicious, don’t assume it’s a primadonna.  Lavender makes two (and only two!) basic demands:  at least six hours of full sun and excellent drainage.

Lina, one of Tagawa’s outstanding perennials experts, teaches our lavender class every summer.  She’ll be packing this Saturday’s class with great information on which types of lavender do best here…. what varieties to choose for crafting or for cooking…. and loads of other great lavender-growing tips and techniques.

So many different varieties to choose from!

The two varieties of lavender that are among the hardiest in our climate are “Hidcote” and “Munstead.”  I grow them both, and they do very well on my hot, dry eastern Douglas County garden.

Another variety that’s becoming very popular is “Phenomenal.”  It’s one of the lavenders that plays a prominent role in the lavender beds grown by Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms.

“Phenomenal” grows up to 32″ tall and 32″ wide.  The purple-blue flowers are held on tall spikes.  It makes a beautiful presentation, planted singly or in a grouping.  The flowers appear mid-summer.

Like all of the hardy lavenders, Phenomenal needs regular watering to get it established… meaning a couple of seasons’ of growth.  The  plants then become drought tolerant and quite robust in our summer heat, getting by with a deep watering every few weeks.

For something a little different…

Both the flowers and foliage on lavender are fragrant.  But with “Platinum Blonde” lavender, the leaves are bright more than aromatic.  They’re bright and bold, too!

Platinum Blonde grows up to 24″ tall, including flower spikes.  The blossoms are a classic lavender-blue and appear in early- to mid-summer.

All lavender varieties are deer and rabbit resistant.  It seems the critters don’t appreciate the fragrance the way we do…

Say hello to “Pastor’s Pride”

One of the newest lavenders in Tagawa’s Perennials Department this year is “Pastor’s Pride.”  Because the plant is new, supply is limited, but it’s well worth the scramble because Pastor’s Pride is a re-bloomer!

Beautiful lavender bush at Tagawa Gardens Denver

The medium-blue flower spikes appear in spring.  With proper dead-heading (removing the spent blossoms), Pastor’s Pride will put on another flush of flowers in September.  This one is going to be a big hit!

We love lavender…. and so do the bees!

Lavender is a terrific plant for pollinators!  My honey bees find my lavender plants the minute the first tiny blossoms start to open.

Bee on lavender plant at Tagawa Gardens, Denver

As a rule, “the girls” are far too happy gathering the lavender nectar to worry about any passersby.  Still, when deciding where to plant your lavender, it’s good to keep in mind that the bees will flock to it!

What about Spanish and French lavender?

In addition to the perennial lavenders, Tagawa’s carries annual varieties, too.  They produce delightful blossoms that always remind me of bumble bees.  But these varieties are not hardy here.

Closeup of lavender plant at Tagawa Gardens Denver

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them.  Spanish and French lavender make excellent plants for pots or beds, and they smell yummy!  They’re just not up to our cold winters, so they won’t be coming back next spring.

So, you live in Colorado and you’re not growing lavender?

Now’s the time to change that!  With more than a dozen varieties of hardy lavender currently available, Tagawa’s Perennials Department can give you plenty of good reasons to include this beautiful, aromatic herb in your landscape.

And if you need just one more incentive, come in and brush your fingers gently along the lavender plants on display…. and just see if the fragrance alone doesn’t convince you.

“Lavender Fields Forever!”  This Saturday, July 14th, at Tagawa Gardens.  See you there!


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Luan Akin
About 
Luan Akin
Tagawa Gardens Outreach Ambassador

After 30 years as a news reporter for KCNC TV in Denver, Luan Akin was ready for a change. In 2008, she came to Tagawa Gardens and offered to create a brand new position: Garden Outreach Ambassador.

Luan had trained and volunteered as a Douglas County Master Gardener for ten years. In addition to her duties as a news reporter, working primarily out of the Channel 4 News helicopter, Luan also produced and presented a long-running series of stories called “Gardening Together.”

All these years later, Luan now works year ‘round, presenting a variety of gardening and nature-related topics to hundreds of children, HOA’s, gardening clubs, church groups, small businesses and other organizations.

She is an avid gardener, a beekeeper and a proud mom to four dogs who have trained her well.

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