Sometimes there is confusion on the coloration of lavenders. Especially with floral designs clients many are expecting deeper colors on the Intermediate (Grosso/Phenomenal). The intermediates really have a wide range of coloration. The long-stemmed Intermediate lavenders are much sturdier and have larger buds so they hold up better to mixed floral design arrangements, but I do occasionally mix in some English lavender for color in season. I will break down the color differences between Intermediate and English below.
Our farm is moving towards growing probably about 75% English lavender after this season. We were about half and half between English and Intermediate lavender previously. However, our intermediates were hard hit by the winter and not as hardy. I will keep what we have that survived and have babied them back to health, but I will be starting to grow a longer stemmed variety of English lavender soon and we will move to incorporate it more into designs. All our English lavender - Hidcote and Melissa survived quite well despite the harsh winter and cold, wet spring.
Here is the breakdown of color on the two types of lavender I use in my designs:
Intermediate Lavender - Are long-stemmed- (Grosso and Phenomenal) vary in color from purplish blue to soft faded blue to gray-blue. Color is highly dependent upon what is in stock and varies. We do grow our own Grosso and Phenomenal lavender, which tends to be a deeper color than many I have received as supplemental from other farms. I will use our own lavender whenever possible and when in season. However, when our supplies are exhausted we do supplement with lavender from other farms in order to offer floral designs year round. We are a small farm and we cannot possibly grow enough to supply the demands for lavender bouquets and floral designs year round.
While I cannot control the color factor on lavender I receive from other sources, I will use the best blooms and color possible and tend to know which suppliers have the best color/sizes. I am very particular about who I receive supplemental bunches from. It needs to meet a certain standard. Since I work with it daily in designs, I know how sturdy I need it be and the size I prefer. I request pictures before I purchase to see if it will meet my needs. Right before the new harvest can get a little towards slim pickings as many supplies are starting to run out or blooms are more faded . Please be patient while we get our harvest in (usually July for us here in Michigan) and also for our supplemental suppliers to get their harvests ready as well.
Intermediate lavenders are used in oil production for essential oil. As we are a flower farm that grows for cut flowers and floral design, we do not distill oils at this time.
We also use English lavender. English lavender is generally smaller in size and length and has a more delicate look. We also grow our own English lavender and will have it for sale in season but I am usually out of our stock very quickly. English lavender is harvested usually in late June, but I will also get a second harvest in August or even September although not as big. I mostly sell it in small petite bundles and sometimes in larger wedding bouquets. To me it is a more premium lavender. We personally grow a mix of Hidcote - small deep purple flowers - and Melissa, slightly large flowers and lighter true lavender color. I will mix the two together, which makes a unique two-toned bouquet. When I have to supplement lavender from other farms It is usually Munstead or Hidcote, which is the true purple. I do not tend to keep English in year round as supplemental. However, at times I will get it by special request if I am out of my own.
We will start to grow a longer-stemmed version of English Lavender in 2019 and our farm is moving more and more towards English lavender production as it is hardiest for our growing zone and winters. Look for it to start to be available more on our shop and in our designs as we convert more to English lavender. My personal preference is the English lavender so I am excited about moving towards growing more of it.
A good example of different lavenders is our mixed bouquet of English and Grosso bouquet - See picture at top of blog.
Grosso and Phenomenal Intermediate Lavender Pictured below. First picture is fresh intermediate from our farm before drying. Middle and third pics are bundles of dried Grosso. Notice the light faded color. This completely normal for dried Grosso or Phenomenal. Our home grown tends to be a bit darker than this although buds are a bit smaller, which is more due to the size of the plants not being fully mature. Last row: Our Dried Grosso - somewhat deeper color. Second pic: Fresh Grosso Drying from our fields. Last pic: Mixed Grosso and English lavender.
Below is the English lavender. First picture is fresh English lavender, before drying, from our fields. Second picture are petite bundles of English lavender from our fields. Last pictures - larger bundle of Munstead lavender. Notice the English lavender has a deeper colors although there are some variations. Second row of pictures are our bundles of Mixed Hidcote and Melissa - Notice the deeper color of Hidcote and lighter lavender of Melissa. Not all farms mix lavenders - most do not. However, I just really like the look of these two mixed so since they bloom at the same time I usually mix them together in finished bouquets.