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California's favorite flower? We're 'All About Lavender'

Free workshop covers how to grow, harvest and use this popular herb

Lavender prefers a bright, dry spot with relatively poor soil -- and good drainage.

Lavender prefers a bright, dry spot with relatively poor soil -- and good drainage.

Kathy Morrison

Have California gardeners adopted a Mediterranean mindset? Using Google searches as a measure, a study by horticultural guide Gardening Chores concluded that lavender is California’s favorite flower.

Not only is it California’s top searched-for flower, but No. 1 in 41 states plus the District of Columbia, says the report.

Second among searched-for flowers (coupled with the phrase “how to grow”) in California was sunflower, followed by rose, peony and hydrangea.

Why lavender? It’s more than just a pretty flower, explained horticulture expert Amber Noyes, Gardening Chores executive editor, who is based in San Mateo.

“Lavender provides many benefits to the area in which it is grown and can thrive both outdoors and indoors with proper care,” she said in the report’s announcement. “From its widely acknowledged pleasant fragrance to its beautiful violet flowers, it provides a welcoming space for pollinators, and acts as an excellent repellent of nuisance garden insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks.

“With this in mind, it stands to reason that lavender would be the most popular flower in California. It will be particularly interesting to see whether the most-searched-for flowers are also the most frequently grown by those cultivating their gardens this summer.”

A lot of those “how to grow” searches may have come due to struggling lavender plants. Lavender likes a challenge. It’s usually killed by kindness. Instead of rich soil and lots of irrigation, it wants a bright, dry spot with relatively poor soil. It demands good drainage.

Native to the Mediterranean region and drought-tolerant, the lavender genus includes 47 species and more than 450 varieties. Lavender is a favorite with bees and a must for pollinator gardens.

Besides attracting beneficial insects, the flowers have culinary and medicinal uses. Their fragrance promotes relaxation.

Learn more in a free workshop at 9 a.m. Wednesday, June 14, at the Cameron Park Community Center. Presented by the El Dorado County master gardeners, “All About Lavender” is just that – an information-packed three-hour session about how to grow, harvest and use this versatile herb.

Master gardeners Donna Marshall and Muriel Stephenson will teach the lavender basics and a lot more. The class includes how to propagate lavender, and everyone will leave with their own cuttings to root.

No advance registration is necessary. Cameron Park Community Center is located at 2502 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park.

Questions? Email



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For week of Sept. 24:

This week our weather will be just right for fall gardening. What are you waiting for?

* Now is the time to plant for fall. The warm soil will get these veggies off to a fast start.

* Keep harvesting tomatoes, peppers, squash, melons and eggplant. Tomatoes may ripen faster off the vine and sitting on the kitchen counter.

* Compost annuals and vegetable crops that have finished producing.

* Cultivate and add compost to the soil to replenish its nutrients for fall and winter vegetables and flowers.

* Fertilize deciduous fruit trees.

* Plant onions, lettuce, peas, radishes, turnips, beets, carrots, bok choy, spinach and potatoes directly into the vegetable beds.

* Transplant cabbage, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower as well as lettuce seedlings.

* Sow seeds of California poppies, clarkia and African daisies.

* Transplant cool-weather annuals such as pansies, violas, fairy primroses, calendulas, stocks and snapdragons.

* Divide and replant bulbs, rhizomes and perennials. That includes bearded iris; if they haven’t bloomed in three years, it’s time to dig them up and divide their rhizomes.

* Dig up and divide daylilies as they complete their bloom cycle.

* Divide and transplant peonies that have become overcrowded. Replant with “eyes” about an inch below the soil surface.

* Late September is ideal for sowing a new lawn or re-seeding bare spots.

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