dutch garden

Lavender common names are a mess

Three relatively common types are called French, Spanish, and English Lavender, respectively. Sounds informative, right? No.

This is Lavandula stoechas. It’s got the leaves you might expect, but a different sort of flower. It’s native to the Mediterranean, including parts of both Spain and France, and is usually what people mean when they say Spanish Lavender. Some historical texts call it French Lavender. 

This is L. dentata. Its leaves are “toothed” (hence the name) in contrast to the simple leaves that “ordinary” lavenders have. It’s called French Lavender, and it’s native to Spain. It is not the perfume/culinary lavender grown in France.

This is L. angustifolia. Different flowers, see? And the simple leaves you expect. This is the true, or common lavender, the classic one for perfume and such. It’s called English Lavender, of course, since it’s the one that grows in those crazy beautiful fields in Provence, France:

Just to muddy the waters further, there’s also L. latifolia, which is usually called Spike Lavender I believe. It and its hybrids with L. angustifolia are used in perfumes etc. as well. It has wider simple leaves that are maybe sometimes a little toothed on the edge, just to confuse a little, but at least they didn’t name it after a country it has little to do with.

Oh - but lavandin, the hybrid, is called Dutch Lavender! As far as I can tell there is no good reason for this! The main difference there seems to be that it does a bolder branchy thing with its flower spikes. There are other Lavandula species, but now I’m tired.

This has been a Lavender Education post, or Why Common Names Are Really Dumb Sometimes (But I Like Them Anyway).

Balthasar van der Ast, Still Life of Variegated Tulips in a Ceramic Vase, with a Wasp, a Dragonfly, a Butterfly and a Lizard, 1625

The aesthetic and economic obsession with buying and displaying tulips during the Dutch Golden Age is called “tulipmania” by scholars (1). John C. Mather describes Dutch gardeners “vying to produce better and more bizarre variegations and feathering” (2) - desirable tulip traits seen in this still life by van der Ast.

Keep reading

Your house in Dutch

Go around your house to practice this vocabulary!

Other Useful Dutch posts:
Dutch Garden Vocabulary
Dutch Mail Vocabulary
Dutch City Vocabulary


  • The house - Het huis
  • The mailbox - De brievenbus
  • The room - De kamer
  • The floor - De vloer (as in: I’m walking on the floor)
  • The floor - De verdieping (as in: My bedroom is on the 1st floor)
  • The wall - De muur
  • The furniture - De meubels, het meubilair

The basement - De kelder

  • Old stuff - Oude spullen

The hallway - De gang

  • The front door - De voordeur
  • The door - De deur
  • The doormat - De deurmat
  • The stairs - De trap (Stair - Trede)
  • The dresser - Het dressoir, het kastje (Kastje is the diminutive of kast, which is a closet)

The living room - De woonkamer

  • The couch - De bank (Dutch), de zetel (Flemish)
  • The pillow - Het kussen
  • The blanket - Het deken
  • The lamp - De lamp
  • The TV (Television) - De TV (Televisie)
  • The remote - De afstandsbediening
  • The coffeetable - De salontafel, koffietafel
  • The fireplace - De (open) haard
  • The radiatior - De radiator
  • The rug - De mat

The kitchen - De keuken

  • The sink - De wasbak
  • The tap - De kraan
  • The stove - Het fornuis
  • The oven - De oven
  • The microwave - De magnetron (Dutch), microgolf (Flemish)
  • The (re)fridge(rator) - De koelkast (Dutch), frigo (Flemish)
  • The cabinets - De (keuken)kasten (Cabinet - keukenkast)
  • The drawers - De laden, lades (Drawer - Lade)

The dining room

  • The table - De tafel
  • The dinner table - De eettafel
  • The chairs - De stoelen (Chair - Stoel)
  • The plates - De borden (Plate - Bord)
  • The cutlery - Het bestek
  • The glasses - De glazen (The glass - Het glas. Not to confuse with ‘de bril’, which are the glasses to put on your nose so you can see better.)

The bedroom - De slaapkamer

  • The bed - Het bed
  • The sheets - De lakens (sheet - laken. Not to confuse with ‘het vel / blad papier’, which is ‘the sheet of paper’)
  • The closet - De kast
  • The wardrobe - De kleerkast, garderobe
  • The desk - Het bureau
  • The bookcase - De boekenkast

The bathroom - De badkamer

  • The bath - Het bad
  • The shower - De douche
  • The shower head - De douchekop
  • The sink - De wasbak
  • The mirror - De spiegel
  • The toilet - Het toilet, de wc
  • The washing machine - De wasmachine
  • The dryer - De droger (Dutch), droogkast (Flemish)
  • The laundry basket - De wasmand

The attic - De zolder

The garage - De garage

  • The car - De auto
  • The bike - De fiets
  • The scooter - De scooter, brommer
  • The motorcycle - De motor (Dutch), moto (Flemish)

The garden - De tuin

(I made a separate post with garden vocabulary. You can find the link above!)

Study tip: write the names of these things on post-it notes and stick them to the right object. This way you’ll see the name on everything and this will make it easier to associate the word with the object!