The History of Lavandula angustifolia 'Egerton Blue'
by Rosemary Holmes
The Yuulong Lavender Estate was established in 1980. In 1981 it was not possible to buy more than 100 lavender plants in Australia. Sue and Dick Thompson from Coora Cottage Herbs in Merricks in Victoria sought lavender seeds from Dutch seed merchants in Holland, obtaining four different varieties. They grew the seeds and brought the first 1000 plants up to Yuulong - these were the old Dutch Lavandula angustifolia 'Vera', Lavandula angustifolia 'Nana', Lavandula latifolia and Lavandula x allardii, then also named Mitcham Lavender.
As our Lavandula angustifolia 'Vera' grew on over the next couple of years, in the controlled trial Section 1 on the property, the variations became obvious. Some inflorescences were pale blue, some deep blue to purple, some peduncles were longer, some plants flowered up to two weeks later, and some plants were more robust than others. Now we all know that you should not grow lavenders from seed, because of the great variations that can occur. Always use heel or tip cuttings or tissue culture.
As we harvested the Lavandula angustifolia 'Vera' each year, we marked the best quality bushes and only propagated from these. Then these plants were grown on, marked again, another selection made and then grown on again. It took 10 years of careful selection to produce a dark flowering, sturdy lavender that dried to a deep blue and had good quality oil. All plants in the collection were tested for oil over a three year period.