There are many reasons for growing plants. Some gardeners are looking for beautiful blooms, for others, it’s a flower’s aroma. If you are attracted to flowers with a heavenly scent, lavender is probably right at the top of your list. You just can’t beat its fresh fragrance.

I struggled for years trying to grow lavender, and wasn’t successful until I finally figured out that I needed to get the soil mix right. Lavender requires sharp soil and good drainage. I discovered that the heavy clay soil in my garden just wasn’t going to work. To solve the problem I decided to plant my lavender in containers so I could get the soil just right. I began by placing terra cotta shards at the bottom of my pot to improve the drainage, and then I added a soil mix of 1/3 sand, 1/3 topsoil and 1/3 compost.

There are many different varieties to choose from: Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas), French lavender (Lavandula dentate) and English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) are the lavenders that we are the most familiar with. Some are more aromatic than others and the range of bloom shape and cold hardiness is broad. One of my favorites is Lavender x intermedia ‘Provence’. This plant is actually referred to as lavandin, a cross between L. angustifolia and L. latifolia. I like this variety because of its strong fragrance and graceful, 4 to 8 inch long blooms. You can expect this plant to reach a height of 20 inches, but mine stands over 2 feet.