Herb Picks featured this year are especially associated with Madalene Hill, who either discovered the specific herb and introduced it into the marketplace or because it has been named in her honor. Every year, these herbs are found scattered throughout Arbor Gate gardens and especially in The Madalene Hill Herb Garden located at the Herb House entry.
Regarding lavender, Madalene Hill made an extraordinary contribution to gardeners in the humid coastal areas of the Southern regions. Lavender fanciers from Europe and the northeastern United States are usually appalled to discover that their beloved English lavenders just are not easily grown in our humid coastal climate. But she recommended the French lavender varieties while noting that they may be damaged by freezing weather. Strangely enough, the gray-leaf varieties of French lavender aren’t usually troubled by our humidity.
In addition, by trial and error in her efforts to choose the best lavenders for Southern gardens, Madalene determined that a gravel mulch was very helpful in reducing the humidity that usually surrounds our garden plants. In addition, it’s best to avoid watering the lavender’s foliage by keeping the water’s source close to the ground. And remember to mildly shear or prune the foliage in late December before buds begin to form — the reward will be that wonderful lavender perfume when warmer weather brings on the lavender blooms!