Archive for January, 2009

A Lavender Queen

January 14, 2009

Here in southern Ontario, snow blankets my lavender in the garden and one lone L. angustifolia ‘Munstead’ is struggling along in the house. I purchased it early this year, with nearly 10 other lavenders, and it did not make it into the garden. Not sure if it would survive in its pot through the winter, I decided to bring it in. Usually any L. angustifolia lavenders that come into the house, do not survive. L. intermedia’s, L. heterophylla’s and some L. stoechas do just fine. I remember reading once that during the winter, our homes are drier than the Sahara Desert and I think this is part of the problem.

Anyway… rather than focus on garden issues, I thought over the next few blogs, I would share a few of my favorite lavender books. December I was housebound with a cold and was glad to have a few days to read The Unlikely Lavender Queen, A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming, which I enjoyed very much.

The author is Jeannie Ralston, a successful magazine writer and consequently, the book is well written. The story begins with her life in New York, but soon she is in love with and marries a National Geographic photographer and eventually finds herself living in rural Texas.

The story is autobiographical and covers much more than the creation of their lavender farm in the Texas Hill Country; post-partum depression, compromise in marriage and the joy of true love.

However, if you are thinking of starting a lavender farm, you will get some good ideas from this book. What they do not share are details, such as what variety they plant, but the story of how the farm was developed and the marketing they do is very interesting and could be adapted to nearly any business. Lavender is very labour-intensive, both the initial planting and the harvesting and they describe how cope; they try hiring people, use workshop participants, have friends and neighbours pitching in. As they come up with ideas to build and expand their business, more lavender farms start around them and they are instrumental in developing their region as a tourist destination. I found all those details very interesting.

If you are looking for further information about lavender, please visit my site;