Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Lavatera olbia 'Lilac Lady'

Lavatera olbia 'Lilac Lady' | Tree Mallow

Tree Mallows form large upright bushes with wands of hollyhock-like flowers throughout the warmer months. Lavatera 'Lilac Lady' is more of a woody shrub, but can be cut back after flowering to increase bushiness. Small pale-violet flowers with darker veining bloom from sping into fall. The effect is more reserved than the pink flowered cultivars. Plants need to be staked in windy areas. Native to the hills and thickets of Europe and western Russia.

Reference: Do you have Lavatera 'Lilac Lady'? If you feel some of the rosy-pink lavateras a bit overdone ―poor plants, it's our fault if we feel that way- then you might like to try it. Just now with renewed growth with cooler weather, all my Lavatera make a most welcoming entrance to the garden ―as do several bushes I enjoy when I drive through the village. But Lavatera 'Lilac Lady' is more upright, with less vigorous growth. Its narrow, maple-shaped leaves are felted grey-green, with smaller, flat-faced flowers about 5cm (2in) across, are translucent, silk-textured and pale lilac-blue, held in upright spires. Last year I was not too impressed, but this second year they have made handsome, shapely bushes, and are still in flower long after the colony of purple atriplex seeded beside them has gone.

   Dear friend & gardener: letters on life and gardening
   By Beth Chatto, Christopher Lloyd
   Published by frances lincoln ltd, 1998