When we first saw her, she commanded our attention like no other plant ever seen. The enormous pink bracts which smothered the lavender were, without exaggeration, fluorescent.
Of course we were in her thrall. This was The Princess Lavender, the first royal in a series of carefully selected Spanish lavenders from the LAVINNOVA® breeding programme, based in Melbourne. Breeders Steve Eggleton and Howard Bentley have a particular talent for plant breeding. Their dedication of more than 25 years has produced many exceptional varieties including the ’Fairy Wings’ lavenders, the Dreameria® range of Armerias, and ‘So Cool’ Salvias, bringing these to gardeners throughout the world.
Lavenders are a particular focus for Steve and Howard. Out of many thousands they monitor for exceptional flowering and garden performance, only the very best selections make it to become new releases.
The latest and most exquisite to date is lavender ’The Queen’. Like her namesake, she is compact and tidy, growing about 60cm wide and 90cm high, with a glorious crown of burgundy and lilac bracts which evolve to glowing pink with maturity. Accompanying ‘The Queen’ this spring is ‘The Silver Princess’, a unique combination of the glorious pink flowers of The Princess Lavender with striking silver foliage.
Lavenders are unsurpassed for spring flowering performance and their power to attract bees and other pollinators to the garden is legendary. They are amongst the most easy plants to grow and being Mediterranean, are tolerant of dry, sunny conditions. Lavenders will appreciate a drink in the height of summer or when first planted but make sure the drainage is suitable as they won't like wet feet for prolonged periods.
The Princess Lavender
The Silver Princess