After having visited Provence a few years ago, it was hard not to be taken aback by the rolling fields of lavender. I decided on the spot to plant some lavender when I got back home. I planted this lavender right by the sidewalk, so passers-by can appreciate the scent.
While on the barge cruise though Provence, we visited a lavender distillery. Lavender has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. The guide told us lavender production had been dwindling, slowly, from just after the middle ages to about the 1950s. The change in the 1950s? The American invention of the modern washing machine.
Turns out, that once the washing machine took hold, lavender was a preferred detergent additive. Production soared. These days, laundry detergents may still have the smell of lavender (perception), but more than likely, it is a chemically-induced, faux scent (reality). Currently, lavender production is aimed toward medicinal uses and specialty skincare products.
Lavender likes more sun than you see it getting in this location - but it seems content here. It does over winter here in Zone 6. It does NOT like to be trimmed back significantly (my assistant groundskeeper killed two plants this past spring). The lavender does like sandy, rocky soil and, once established, likes it on the dry side.
Do you have lavender? What's your perception?