Garden

Growing and Caring for Lavender

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Three years ago Matt and I visited Matanzas Creek Winery and Lavender Gardens in early summer and wandered among the beautiful purple fields. Ever since we’ve returned every year, and even attended their annual Days of Wine and Lavender in late June which takes place under the oaks and among the lavender fields. It’s a beautiful event with gourmet food vendors pairing their lavender infused appetizers with the local wines, definitely worth a day trip in June if you’re in the area!

Lavender has been cultivated and grown for centuries and its a flowering plant that has long been a favorite through the ages for its beauty, scent, culinary and therapeutic uses. I’m a huge fan of this botanical, I have two dozen Provence lavender plants in my yard that I harvest every summer – I keep the buds for making sachets and dry several bundles upside-down for future use.

I asked if the specialist at Matanzas Creek would answer some questions about the growth and care of lavender, and today Pat Ross is the expert answering some common questions about the care and growth of lavender.

matanzas creek lavender

Hi Pat! Tell us your role in lavender production at Matanzas Creek Winery and Lavender Gardens?

I oversee the production of all of our lavender products and packaging, developing the unique packaging and marketing the products to spas and retail stores. We sell our lavender products online, you can find all of them in our retail store.

Lavender sunlight

What are the most popular varieties of lavender and how can you tell them apart?

Our large garden is both varieties of Grosso and Provence lavender. ‘Provence’ is a lighter shade of lavender used for culinary purposes. The ‘Grosso’ is a deeper shade used because the fragrance is important in sachets, bouquets, soap products, etc.

difference between provence and grosso lavender

 

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A Favorite Perennial

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

I’ve always believed that the simplest things can bring the most joy in life. People have said it over the years in various clever ways because you can’t escape its truth. For me, the presence of a simple botanical that costs me nothing and is within reach just a few steps from the back door brings much happiness.

I love our hydrangeas and roses and grapevines too, but if you asked me what my favorite blooming perennial is, I wouldn’t hesitate to answer “Viburnum!”  (Although ask me again next spring after the new lilac bush I planted has blossomed and I may have changed my story.) There are over 100 varieties of viburnum and the one growing in our yard is ‘Chinese Snowball’ which blooms in small white puffs that resemble mini hydrangeas.

viburnum in blue glass vases

It grows tall and wild on woody stems each season, but unlike the hungry citrus or temperamental grapevines, it tolerates my frequent neglect and still gives me the most beautiful white blossoms every April.

viburnum bush

They first bloom in a vivid lime green color (pruned and placed in a vase, seen here) and then quickly turn to white puffballs in the spring sunshine. They only bloom for a few weeks but when they do, I hurry to gather many arrangements and fill up vases around the house.

viburnum in vase on nightstand

viburnum blooms

 

In early fall the viburnum gifts me once more with gorgeous stems of leaves that have turned all shades of amber and gold (see them on last year’s autumn mantel). Wherever I live, I know I’ll always have a viburnum planted somewhere in the yard.

What is your favorite perennial that blooms each season?

 

Related Posts:

summer garden potting bench hydrangeas

Summer Garden Tour

DIY Potting Bench

Growing Healthy Hydrangeas

 

 

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DIY Criss Cross Outdoor Planters

Monday, April 8th, 2013

I’ve been a DIYer for like ever but I have to say this is one of my favorite DIY projects to date. I mentioned last month how I was going to build some outdoor planters and last week, Matt and I built two outdoor planters for the courtyard to frame the French doors. When I first started this project I planned on a Chippendale style, but stopped at the basic criss-cross pattern – the simplicity appealed to me. We’ve built a lot of things together, but these are my new favorites!

diy criss cross planters

 

We referred to Ana’s cedar planter plans to get us started but varied the height and width of the cuts, and then added the X pattern detail at the end. We used a combination of pine and poplar from Lowes, here is the wood cut list for each planter and how we assembled them:

Wood Cut List Per Planter:

Sides:  1 x 6” boards cut at 21.5” length (12 pieces)

Legs: 2 x 2” boards cut at 24” length (4 pieces)

Top + Bottom Slats: 1 x 3” cut at 16.5” width (8 pieces)

Interior Supports: 1 x 2” cut at 16.5” width (2 pieces) and 1 x 8” at 16.5” width (2 pieces)

Criss Cross Pattern:  1 x 2” cut at 42 degree (4 pieces at 22.5” length) and 7 degree angles (8 pieces cut at 10.5”length (see diagram below))

Tool + Supply List:

Compound miter saw; Kreg Jig; measuring tape; safety eyewear; power screwdriver; brad nailer (or hammer and brad nails); wood screws, sander, respirator (for sanding and spray priming/painting); paint or stain, wood (see cut list).

 

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