Lavender: the wild one

Wild Spanish lavender will make the perfect addition to your garden

Wondering which lavender to grow in your garden? This ravishing shrub has become so popular, there are oodles of varieties, colours, shapes and sizes to choose from.

But lately we are loving Lavandula stoechas, also known as Spanish or Greek lavender. It’s the one that usually flowers earliest in our climate, complete with super-plump purple flowerheads with festive little “feathers” on top.

Perhaps because it also grows wild (in Mediterranean regions), we find this species of lavender to be particularly robust and hardy, even on the West Coast. And a bonus: of all the lavenders we grow, the deer seem to just give this one only a sniff, before moving along. Spanish lavender is sometimes passed over by those preferring to grow English or French lavender for drying, scents and crafts. But it is the Spanish or stoechas species that was likely used by the Romans as the original medicinal and body herb. It dries well and bundles beautifully for use in dried arrangements and sweet tussie mussies.

Because of its strong camphor-like scent when dried however, it’s a less likely candidate for culinary uses. We prefer to throw fresh bundles into an evening bath.

This season, lavender topiary is a hot ticket item, with Spanish lavender the leading choice for the lollipop look. It’s fresh, fun and fragrant. What could be a better choice for a summer garden patio? For more gardening tips from Christina Symons, check out