Lavender Cotton – Santolina – Yard Gardener


LAVENDER COTTON

I feel that among the finest issues about gardening is that when I’m weeding or planting or pruning, I fear an ideal deal much less about dropping my thoughts.  The seeds of madness, or a minimum of confusion appear to lurk indoors-—within the stuffed-full file drawers, the paper-strewn desk, and the Everest-like laundry pile.  If I don’t get out into the backyard for a minimum of a couple of minutes daily, these seeds are inclined to take root and the inexperienced shoots of chaos rapidly set up themselves in my thoughts.

I used to be restoring my sanity within the backyard a few weeks in the past, after I observed the inexperienced santolina (Santolina virens) that I planted final summer season in one in all my sunny again beds.  It was flourishing at a time when extra timid vegetation had been simply starting to poke tentative shoots out of the bottom.

Santolina, generally often called lavender cotton, is an old style herb, native to the Mediterranean.  It has been utilized in American gardens since colonial days, and was appreciated in Europe lengthy earlier than that.  Most of the previous herbals tout its properties as a “vermifuge”.  Fascinated by the phrase, I turned to the dictionary and located {that a} vermifuge is a concoction taken internally to expel parasitic worms.  It’s affordable to suppose that it isn’t used a lot anymore for this function.

Thankfully for the continued recognition of santolina, the plant has quite a few different sterling qualities.  For one factor, the finely dissected grey leaves of Santolina chamaecyparissus (the commonest selection that’s commercially obtainable), and the inexperienced leaves of Santolina virens are pleasantly fragrant.  You may put them in your linen closet or sweater drawer and relaxation safe within the data that moths discover the odor unappealing.  One of many santolina species, Santolina ericoides, has been hybridized to provide a cultivar known as ‘Lemon Queen”, that has citrus-scented foliage.

As everyone knows, smelling good is a particular plus in social conditions, however trying good is often what it’s all about.  Santolina has engaging yellow button-shaped flowers that add properly to preparations and might be cooked into an excellent yellow dye.  In my backyard final summer season, the inexperienced santolina grew as if it had been handled with steroids, bloomed magnificently, and responded to a mid-summer shearing by doubling in measurement.  I would add, that even on the peak of the drought, it acquired no supplemental water.  I do know now that santolina treats these circumstances as a problem.

There appear to be santolinas for a bunch of various conditions.  All of them want a sunny web site with fairly good drainage.  Grey santolina (Santolina chamaecyparissus) steadily finds its approach into knot gardens as an edging plant.  Rising to a peak of about 2’, it’s simply sheared to no matter measurement suits your necessities.

In case you are not formidable sufficient to begin a knot backyard, grey santolina additionally is an effective low hedge.  For edging, there are dwarf cultivars similar to the grey leafed Santolina chamaecyparissus ‘Nana’, or the inexperienced leafed Santolina ericoides.

If topiary is one in all your passions, you possibly can receive rosemary leafed santolina  (Santolina rosmarinifolia).  The needle-like leaves of this plant make a good configuration when potted, skilled and clipped.

The santolina in my backyard is already exhibiting indicators that it intends to take over the small mattress the place it at the moment resides.  To maintain myself and the plant completely satisfied, I’ll transplant it to a brand new sunny mattress, the place it should undoubtedly go about its vigorous methods with no consideration from me.

You may get santolina in small pots from many native nurseries and backyard facilities.  For a bigger collection of cultivars, attempt Companion Vegetation, 7247 N. Coolville Ridge Highway, Athens, OH 45701; tel. 740/592-4643; or entry the web site at companionplants.com.

It isn’t lavender and it isn’t cotton, however lavender cotton is a plant that smells good, seems to be good and takes stress off the gardener.  It beats remedy.


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