Friday, November 4, 2011

The essence of Lavender

Bridestowe Lavender Estate
My mother in law visited the Bridewstowe Lavender farm some time ago, based on her photos I have wanted to see it.  My only experience with "Lavender Farms" in Victoria has been very underwhealming. So when we were offere the opportunity to grow plants bred at Bridestowe I jumped at the chance. Bridestowe has a long and interesting history, at least I think so, my kids might not agree. They have also built a great horticultural/tourism business that's worth having a look at. it's fair to say they'll sell anything with tha slightest association with Lavender. I've a suspicion that gardeners prepared to buy a Bridestowe coffee cup will be keen to grow their own Bridestowe Lavender.

We potted tube stock from our supplier back in July. These special plants so we chose to grow them in 200mm pots to ensure they had the best chance to show their potential, but back in the cold and dark of July we really did wonder if they would ever fill the pots.  Well they started showing green shoots in September and have very quickly filled out. We still have a month or so before they reach peak flowering and that says to me it's time to show them to the public.  I'm sure gardeners will want to catch the best of this year's flowering season.

We have 3 varieties grown from breeding done on the Bridestowe Estate.  These are English Lavender cultivars (Lavandula angustifolia) selected and sorted to produce flowers, colours, fragrance and oil exported around the world.
Bridestowe Elizabeth: Ideal for cut flowers. This is an excellent hedging lavender with strong, robust stems. Their performance in pots to date suggests they also make ideal container plants. They have medium Purple flowers with Red undertones. Plants will grow to 1m.
Lavender Bridestowe Elizabeth

Bridestowe Myra. Highly Fragrant. Myra is a classic 'richly perfumed' Lavender. This cultivare emphasizes the breeding done at Bridestowe to to maximize production of high quality essential oils. Of course this makes Myra ideal for flower arrangements and pot pourri. Myra will grow to about 1m.

Bridestowe Philippa. Culinary Lavender. Who knew? Culinary Lavender must be low in Camphor, I assume to make it palatable. In pots Philippa has a riotous growth habit and will grow out to a mounded plant to 60cm tall. "Bridestowe Philippa may be used fresh or dried to impart sophisticated flavours to sweet or savoury dishes". I had to quote that, I am in awe. If you have any good recipes calling for Lavender please let me know and I'll pass them around.


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