Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Smell the Lavender

Newcomers allowed to roam freely!
Last week the Garden group of the Newcomers Club of Greater Charlottesville took a trip to a wonderful Lavender Farm!  Cars were loaded and we took off in route up through the scenic Shenandoah National Park "the back way", to Harrisonburg, Virginia.  It took about 40 minutes to arrive to our destination, White Oak Lavender Farm.

Julie, the owner, gave us a wonderful tour of the farm and Lavender fields that contain 5,000 plants.  In order to create Lavender Oil for their products they also operate an on site Distillery.  It takes the blossoms of 40 plants to fill one big pot to create a small amount of essential oil.

Nubian Goat, what a cutie.
We were all quite impressed with the care of the various farm animals; Nubian Goats, Ducks, Huge Rabbits, Horses, and Chickens.  There is a lovely pond with ducks where you can sit and mediate or just relax.  Strolling the fields and taking in the beautiful views and countryside is quite wonderful.

You can tell the owners, Julie and Rick Haushalter go to great lengths to run a quality business.  Opening your car door, the smell of Lavender is all around and once you enter the shop, you almost become numb to the smell.  Given I can't get enough of Lavender, it was very refreshing.

Drunk from the Lavender in a purple haze.
The key to keeping your Lavender plants alive is to put it in full sun on a slope, offer it good drainage (rocks in the bottom of the whole is a good addition) and cut it back in the fall so the center of the plant does not stay wet and rot over the winter.  A Lavender plant will rot quickly if allowed to sit in water.
The teacher and the student.

A pretty little wand.
Julie showed us how to make Lavender Wands.  It was quite fun and something you can do if you make the trip over when the Lavender is in bloom (it needs to be fresh to not snap the stems off).  On the ride back we were all quite sleepy (it also might have been the 95 degree temperature), proving lavenders ability to relax the body.  My little wand is tucked in my bedroom wooden wardrobe oozing lovely fragrance.


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