New English Garden Bee Plants – “Essence Purple” and “Silver Mist” English Lavender

"Essence Purple" English Lavender

“Essence Purple” English Lavender

"Silver Mist" English Lavender

“Silver Mist” English Lavender

One of my favorite online plant purveyors, Wayside Gardens, has 61 new perennial cultivars this year, many of them bee favorites.

There are few, if any, flowers bees and other pollinators love better than English Lavender.  Wayside Gardens is offering two new English Lavenders this year, “Essence Purple” and “Silver Mist”.

An English Lavender extraordinaire, ‘Essence Purple’ is the variety for those of us who can never have too much Lavender in garden and home. Bushier, better branched, and perhaps even more fragrant than others, it is simply heavenly in color, form, and scent. Find new places to tuck this magnificent plant in your sunny garden and patio this season!

One of the most beautiful of English Lavenders, ‘Silver Mist’ sets nearly white foliage with a soft, fuzzy aura that looks like clouds in the garden. The flowers are pure sky-blue and continue over an especially long season. Compact, well-branched, and marvelously fragrant in bloom and leaf, it’s a must-have for the sunny garden and fine containers.

Both Lavenders are evergreen in mild areas and deer-resistant.

An herb, Lavender is useful for everything from potpourri to Everlastings to air freshener. Cut branches to tuck into your linen closet, use the flowers to perfume tea and sweets, and admire the pollinators that are drawn to these plants all season long. Every garden needs at least one stand of Lavender!

Italian Week – Honey Lavender Gelato

This recipe is for my friends Emma and Emily, British beekeepers extraordinaire!!

Lavender is the name of their Queen bee!

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup clover (or other light) liquid honey
2 teaspoons food-quality dried lavender
2 egg yolks
4-6 trays of ice

Directions:

Heat the cream and milk in a heavy saucepan. Stir often and turn off before it boils. Add lavender. Stir. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Set out eggs to bring to room temperature.

Strain the milk mixture through a fine mesh strainer. Prepare an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water. Set a smaller bowl inside.

Clean the pot and add the milk, honey and sugar. Heat gently, stirring the whole time until the sugar melts. Separate eggs and beat yolks with a fork or whisk until smooth. Temper the yolks by adding 1/2 cup of the hot milk to them while whisking. Slowly add the yolks to the milk mixture while stirring. Cook over low to medium heat, stirring with a wooden spoon the entire time, until it thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Make sure it does not boil or the eggs will scramble.

As soon as it reaches the point when it thickens enough to coat the back of the spoon strain immediately into the bowl in the ice bath. Stir fora couple minutes to let some of the heat escape then cool in ice bath, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes or until chilled. Add ice to outer bowl as necessary.

Churn in an ice cream maker until thick. Transfer to 2 separate air tight containers and freeze until firm. This usually takes 24 hours.
Gelato

Favorite English Garden Bee Plants – English Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)

No English garden is complete without  lavender. And it is one of the very best plants for bees!

Bee on Lavender

Some bee experts believe that lavender is the number one plant for gardeners to grow for honey bees. Why? Lavenders are certainly rich in nectar, but the most important thing about them is that they flower in midsummer when there is surprisingly little forage about, and honey bee colonies are at their biggest and hungriest.

Lavender in Gertrude Jekyll's Garden at The Manor House Upton Grey

Lavender is a beautiful grey-leaved ornamental plant with lovely flowers, a marvelous scent, and the ability to survive low water conditions. It can be allowed to grow into open bushy plants or trimmed into hedges. It is grown for its flowers, for use in lavender-scented products, and as a culinary herb.

clip_image004 Lavandula angustifolia, English Lavender

The two varieties of lavender that are most common in the USA have very English names. Hidcote Lavender, named for Hidcote Manor Garden, grows to about 20”. Its lower growing cousin, Munstead Lavender, is named for the home of the great English garden designer Gertrude Jekyll.

Lavender at Munstead Wood

And, like so many bee-friendly plants, lavender is deer-resistant!!