I’ve previously written about my favourite lavender here in our Jersey Lavender gardens, but since there are so many I have to mention another – and I know there will be more.
If you are looking for something unusual for the garden then Lavandula x christiana, otherwise called feathered lavender, is one for you. It really is a real cracker and is increasingly available in UK garden centres. What the garden centres don’t tell you is that it isn’t hardy in the UK and when the temperature drops below + 5°C it is likely to die. That’s the downside, and though disappointing to lose the plant each year the upsides certainly outweigh this.
Christiana is one of those lavenders that doesn’t really look like a lavender. The flowers and leaves don’t look typically lavender, and the fragrance isn’t lavendery either – in fact the flowers don’t smell at all but the leaves do. However it is a great looking plant. Attractive lacey-leafed foliage, long, strong stems with beautiful blue trident shaped flower heads, waving gently in the breeze.
Being a hybrid it tends to be quite vigourous, such that a small, 1 litre pot planted out in the spring will spread to a plant 2-3 feet across and 2.5 feet high by the end of the summer. From Spring to Autumn it will produce a constant display of flowers (always helped along by some deadheading), and if it does get a bit large a quick clip with the shears will bring it back down to size.
Outside, it won’t overwinter, but if you are lucky enough to have a conservatory or heated greenhouse and can get the plant into a pot it should survive until it warms up again. It also has to be one of the easiest plants to take cuttings from and produce plenty of your own plant stock for the following year.
So it you are looking for something abit different this is the plant for you.