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Rebecca Sweet of Harmony in the Garden writes about her favorite plant in the Sunset Western Garden Collection.

I get dirty in: Los Altos, California (South Peninsula region of the Bay Area), where I’ve lived and gardened for over 40 years.

Favorite plant in the Sunset Western Garden: Without a doubt, it’s ‘Meerlo’ lavender!

How I use it in the landscape: When I need something that’s deer and bunny-resistant, requires little water, looks great year-round, and smells divine, I turn to ‘Meerlo’ lavender.  Its variegated foliage looks amazing when placed near dark greens or maroons; colors that let the soft yellow variegated foliage ‘pop’ in the landscape.

What I love about it: Besides the classic lavender fragrance, I love creating interesting color echoes from ‘Meerlo’s variegated foliage. These echoes help to not only add another layer of interest in the garden but also to unify a grouping of seemingly mismatched plants.  Color echoes can often act as the ribbon that ties a random selection of plants together within the garden bed, helping it to look full and dynamic without appearing overly busy.

How I keep it happy: I plant ‘Meerlo’ in full sun with fast-draining soil (lavenders hate having wet feet in the winter!) To aid in drainage, I mix in a few scoops of pumice at the bottom of the planting hole. During the hot summer months, I give ‘Meerlo’ a drink of water once or twice a week, at most.

Plants it plays nicely with: To let the buttery yellow colors shine, consider placing ‘Meerlo’ near a few dark green plants, such as  Lomandra ‘Breeze’, ‘Baby Gem’ Buxus, ‘Golf Ball’ Pittosporum, or Boxwood Euonymus. Or, to add a bit more drama to the garden, contrast colors by placing ‘Meerlo’ near the dark and moody foliage of ‘Design-A-Line’ Cordyline‘Black Adder’ Phormium’, or ‘Red Diamond’ Loropetalum.

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