Lavandin flowers grow on long stalks that sway in the wind. The stalks rise 18 to 24 inches above the plant and move as ornamental grasses do.
According to folklore, spouses who place lavender flowers between their bed sheets will never quarrel. Since I never quarrel with my wife, Melissa, I prefer to let lavender work its magic in my garden. I'm passionate about its flowers and foliage. It's also attractive to me because it has many uses, from lavender wands and dried flowers for potpourri to oil for aromatherapy products, colognes, lotions, and soaps.
My herb mentor and friend, Emma Wakefield, introduced me to lavender. As we walked down the path that wound through her garden, she pointed to varieties of lavender while reciting horticultural epithets and interesting facts about each. During Roman times, the mention of lavender conjured up images of Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas) and French lavender (L. dentata)—the herbs of choice at the Roman Baths. Many other species and cultivars have gained notoriety through the ages, including English lavender (L. angustifolia) for its superb oil quality and lavandin (L. × intermedia) for its long-stemmed flowers. See "Exceptional lavender selections" (below) for a list of choice plants and their distinctive features.