My Lavender's Brown, Dilly Dilly
June 1, 2010 8:20 AM Subscribe
What killed my Lavender? Suspects: Cats, weedkiller, poor soil, poor plants or my terrible gardening skills.
posted by Ness to Home & Garden (7 answers total)
Im a gardening noob. I would really like to have a front path lined with Lavender so I recently set about trying to achieve this. It hasnt gone well.
Mature, somewhat neglected south facing garden in SW UK. Soil is clay in the back garden where its shady but the front beds appear to have some quite good drainage and get full sun, the soil is generally dry and stony.
The bed originally contained some Roses and a proliferation of Bluebells, two flowers I really dislike looking at and looking after. I tried digging the Bluebells up last year but I didnt do a good enough job of it and they came back so this year. I got busy with some topical weedkiller and then dug up what was left a week later.
Off I went to B&Q and bought a tray of 10 Lavenders (a French variety I think), they were quite small - about 10cm tall with no flowers. The others on sale seemed to be the same variety but were larger, more established plants in single pots but I went with the tray in order to create my hedge of plants along the path.
A video tutorial on the BBC Gardeners World website said to plant Lavenders with grit below them to help them drain. I had trouble finding 'grit' so settled for a bag of lawn sand.
I created a small bank to help with drainage and planted the Lavenders in holes with a good few handfulls of sand in the bottom. I didnt pack the earth around them too tightly assuming that loose/dry was better and I didnt water them for the same reason (it rained the next day anyway).
The next day I noticed that the bed was being considered sandbox heaven by the local kitties. Two of the plants had been partially excavated. There were paw prints, excavations and poops.
A couple of weeks later and all the Lavenders are brown and the leaves falling off. I scraped some of the bark off the plants in places - theres possibly some life at the base but the outer leaves/stalks are brown on the inside.
So what did I do wrong? Was it the weedkiller? I thought the topical stuff didnt hang around in the soil, a friend who knows more about gardening than I said I didnt need to wait to plant.
Did the local cats spray them? Did I make them too vulnerable by planting them loosely?
Were the plants just too poor quality to start with? Should I have bought larger ones that were already flowering? Was it Lawn Sand a bad idea?
Im planning to try again with a couple of larger plants as see how they fare, but knowing what went wrong would be good. I fear if I kill three attempts then I may give up entirely, Lavender can't be that hard to grow - I see it everywhere!