RHS unveils lavender trial results

Eighteen lavender varieties handed the Award of Garden Merit

In response to the growing range of Lavandula being introduced to the UK market in recent years, the Royal Horticulture Society’s Woody Plant Trials Committee took the decision to conduct trials of the genus between 1996 and 2001. The results have been published this year in RHS Plant Trial Awards: Hardy Lavenders by senior trials officer Linda Jones. The RHS trials have been run since the foundation of the society in 1804 and have been a valuable source of information to generations of gardeners. The awarded varieties include: Lavandula angustifolia ‘Beechwood Blue’, a low-growing plant with rich blue flowers; Lavandula angustifolia ‘Nana Alba’, a dwarf cultivar with a neat habit and stems of white flowers held above aromatic foliage; and Lavandula ‘Sawyers’, with silvery foliage and thin wands of pointed, dark purple spikes. The trials not only provide information on the plants and their cultivation, but also offer insights and advice on issues such as pest and disease prevention, as well as matters concerning plant nomenclature. Each trial concludes with the Award of Garden Merit being given to plants that are recommended as being an excellent choice for general gardeners to grow. The 74 entries for the lavender trials were obtained from national collection holders, retailers and wholesale nurseries, with three plants of each kind being received in May 1996. Possible contenders for the Award of Garden Merit were planted out in the main field trials at RHS Wisley during 1998. Of these contenders, 42 entries were then planted in 1999, along with 10 new entries for final assessment during 2000-2001. Eighteen varieties were given the award using the criteria of overall impact of the plant, its habit and vigour, flower colour, foliage colour and freedom of flowering. L For a copy of the report, send an A4 envelope together with six unattached first class stamps to: Trials Office, RHS Garden Wisley, Woking, Surrey GU23 6QB.

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