A unique selection of unusual and tender lavenders are growing along the Duchess Border, which has long been a testing ground for plants on the borderline of hardiness.
The collection consists of representatives from six out of the eight proposed sections of the genus and these are grown here in order to investigate their hardiness, propagation and growth habitats. Although cuttings are taken and overwintered, the mother plants are left outside to see how they perform. Many taxa succumb to the cold and damp and these need replacing in the late spring, but some have survived the winters so far. With a distribution from the North Atlantic Islands and Cape Verde Islands, across the Mediterranean Basin, Western Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and tropical North-east Africa, with a disjunction to India, much variation can be seen.
Examples of the better-known hardy lavenders can be found along the Lavender Trail in the adjoining Duke's Garden. These developments have been made possible through the sponsorship of Norfolk Lavender Ltd, who have worked closely with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and Cambridge Botanic Garden for many years.