The RHS AGM Lavender Trials were last carried out in 1996-2001. Like all RHS Trials, the aim was to identify those Lavenders considered the most reliable and decorative.
The RHS Award of Garden Merit
Like any other plant group in an RHS trial, plants in the RHS AGM Lavender trials were tested against six criteria, with an AGM being awarded to those plants that met all six. The chosen Lavenders had:
• To be excellent for garden decoration
• To be available from nurseries
• To be of good constitution
• Not to require specialist care
• Not to be susceptible to pest or disease
• Not to be subject to reversion
The RHS AGM Lavender Trials
The trials were conducted by the charmingly named (and very English sounding) RHS Woody Plant Trials Committee. But don’t let that title fool you – as with any other of their trials, the RHS applied the most vigorous horticultural and botanical standards – and there was a particular reason for putting Lavenders under the spotlight….
Importance of the RHS AGM Lavender Trials
We’ll let the RHS explain: “The Committee’s decision to conduct a trial of lavender was in response to the growing number of new cultivars being introduced to the UK market…Due to the popularity of the genus, propagation by seed and micro-propagation is being used increasingly to meet the demand. Both these methods result in variability of the essential characteristics of the original cultivar.”
This is a geuine problem. Many plants sold cheaply online or on market stalls are of dubious pedigree. Needless to say, all our plants, including all our Lavenders, are grown through vegetative propagation so they always grow true. The variety you buy is the variety you get.
What about Lavenders that don’t have an AGM?
We considered this in connection with our hedging plants and it is just as true for Lavenders: “…plants that are harder to find may meet all the other AGM criteria but will fail to gain an AGM simply because of their rarity. Similarly, no plant that requires even a little extra attention will achieve an AGM. Then there is the matter of pests. There are precious few varieties of Hosta that slugs DON’T regard as a slap-up feast but that doesn’t stop gardeners planting them in their thousands. Nonetheless only those varieties that have a degree of resilience will make it as an AGM – generally these are the blue and more heavily variegated varieties.”
Lavenders of course, are pretty well pest-free.