Lavender: the two-year project

I know it sounds a little crazy to talk of edging a 100 ft garden path with lavender when I haven’t yet found the right property, but given the amount of work that goes into building a mature garden it seems wise to make an early start! Despite my impatience and general inexperience, I’m hoping that by taking cuttings from an old, gnarled lavender bush and planting them up now I will have the perfect-sized lavender plants within two years.

There are other benefits too: the cost of planting 40+ established plants from a local nursery is prohibitive (I estimate somewhere in the region of £400). With this being one of many ‘essential’ garden projects at The Little Grange it is hard to justify such a spend and the alternative – planting a few smaller plants – just wont have the same impact. By taking cuttings I will have all the plants I need for (virtually) nothing at all.*

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I followed these simple steps:

Step 1: take an old lavender bush with lots of new shoots

Step 2: choose small pots, fill with compost and water lightly. For ease I planted 36 cuttings in two pre-formed trays of 18

Step 3: using secateurs, cut off a semi-ripe shoot of about 5 inches from the lavender bush

Step 4: using a sharp knife, cut just below the lowest leaf bud

Step 5: take off all leaves apart from the top set; thin out the central leaves

Step 6: using a pencil or similar-sized implement, make a hole in the centre of the compost and pop in the cutting

Step 7: using small wooden stakes and a see-through polythene bag; protect the cuttings; keep them out of direct sunlight

Once the cuttings are firmly established – they will sprout new shoots and will have a good root system – it will be time to pot them into bigger/individual containers with poor, stoney soil and leave them in a warm, sheltered spot. SCH

* Remember to factor in potting compost and water!

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