Lavender is a very popular evergreen herb that is native to the Mediterranean, South-western Europe and neighbouring parts of Africa and Asia. It has been in use for millennia as a perfume, flavouring and medicine. There are many different species, the commonest in cultivation being Lavandula angustifolia or “English Lavender” – there are many cultivars now available so it’s possible to grow plants of various sizes with a wide range of flower shapes and colours. 
The scent of lavender is well-known to have a calming effect. Did you know that it will deter deer from your garden and can be used to keep clothes moths out of your wardrobe?
Growing Lavender: In western climates it is considered a hardy perennial that lives for around 10 years and grows into a small shrub, although it is grown as an annual in hot, dry climates. English lavender grows well in US zones 5-8; in dry soils or in the far south it is recommended that you grow French or Spanish lavender as they can tolerate drought more easily.
First of all it’s important to find the right location and soil type to grow your plants – lavender prefers well-drained, poor or moderately fertile soil, preferably chalky and with a pH of 6.5 to 7.5, so add some gravel and organic matter if your soil is heavy and lime if it is acidic. It needs full sun to grow at its best but too much humidity can still cause disease so give the plants room for the air to circulate freely and plant them on a raised mound in humid areas.
Propagation by cuttings is the most common and reliable method – either from softwood in early summer or hardwood cuttings in late fall. Cuttings will produce true cultivars.
Growing from seed is more difficult as the seeds take several weeks to germinate and can be affected by damping off. If you collect your own seed from cultivars, the new plants will vary from the mother plant. It’s best to sow in the spring and provide a temperature of 70 degrees. Patience is needed as the plants grow slowly!
It is crucial that the ground is kept clear around your plants as they do not compete well with weeds. Regular mulching with compost around (but not touching) the plant stem or frequent weeding will do the trick. Occasional watering is necessary in longer spells of dry weather.
Pruning will extend the life of your plants by keeping them compact. Harvest the leaves and flowers on a dry day in the cool of the morning but be careful not to cut them back to the old wood as it will not regenerate well.