x-Lavandula angustifolia 'Hidcote'
Lavender 'Hidcote' is one of our most popular and cherished lavenders. An old English variety it is well known from its selection at the wonderful National Trust gardens at Hidcote Manor in Gloucestershire, and is a bushy, compact plant with dense, silver-grey foliage beneath a profusion of deep violet flowers. These are highly fragrant, constantly abuzz with bees and bloom throughout summer.
'Hidcote' is an ideal edging plant, billowing softly over patios or lawns, but planted en masse it also makes a beautiful low hedge along paths and borders. Lovely grown with bright herbaceous perennials, like monarda and geums, or beneath roses in cottage and informal gardens, this lavender is also extremely versatile and grows well in gravel and rock gardens or the exposed conditions of a windy coastal plot. Kept in trim it can also add a contemporary look to a more formal display. Wherever it is grown, be sure to plant it somewhere close by to best appreciate its beautiful scent.
Despite being commonly called English lavender, plants are native to the Mediterranean so give them these conditions in the garden. They love a warm, sunny spot with reasonably fertile, but well drained soil, so dig in lots of grit before planting if you have a heavy wet soil. Good drainage is vital as sitting in cold winter wet can be fatal. Plant in the spring and water plants until established, from when they should be fine with just the summer rains.
To promote flowering and to help keep this neat plant in shape, remove the old flower spikes at the end of the season and then in early spring give plants a trim, cutting growth back by a couple of centimetres - do not cut plants back hard into the wood as they will not re-grow.
With a high essential oil content and heady fragrance, these flowers are loved by pollinators and beneficial insects and are an essential plant in any garden. If drying, cut the flower spikes just before they are fully open and hang in bunches in a dark, airy spot for use in cooking, hanging in bags to repel clothes moths or simply adding to the bath.