Archive for July, 2010

Planting Lavender and Prince Edward County Lavender

July 8, 2010

Prince Edward County lavender

Between Toronto, Ontario and Kingston, just above Lake Ontario is Belleville. It sits south of highway 401and if you can find the signs (which seemed a big problem for me on this trip) take 62 and head for Prince Edward County Lavender. There are good directions on the web site, I just had a lot of trouble with signs on this trip. I had picked up their flyer at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto last November and was hoping to fit in a visit on my way home from Quebec. I arrived in the afternoon and what I treat I was in for. The owners, Rolande and Derek were both there and I was treated to a tour of their fields. They started 5 years ago with 1/2 acre planted in lavender and have steadily expanded since.

First are the benches of lavender plants for sale, varieties I had not seen for sale in southern Ontario. I am pleased that lavender has become so popular that more than just L. angustifolia ‘Hidcote’ and L. angustifolia ‘Munstead’ are now available. Over 10 years ago I visited Norfolk Lavender in England. One plant that kept catching my attention was called ‘Seal’ and Prince Edward County Lavender had plants for sale!

Rolande and Derek are passionate about lavender and it shows. They experiment with different varieties, which you can see growing in the field and with forms of winter protection and we had a great visit – well I enjoyed it. The store had everything and they work in combination with other local producers to have special items. They also grow other herbs including sage, oregano, savory, thyme and chamomile for their own teas and their own ‘Herbes de Provence’ blend. I haven’t done any real cooking since I’ve been home, so have not used it yet, but I can tell you it smells heavenly – almost too nice to use! Not just my opinion, but to friends who have dropped by and are used to me saying – ‘Smell this’ – the OMG has been a common reaction.

They don’t sell plants after the end of July. The reason is that if you garden in zones 4, 5 or 6 lavender really needs to be planted by then so it has time to settle in for the winter. I can’t tell you how many lavender plants I have lost because I didn’t plant them until the fall. You see many perennials and even roses like being planted in the fall, but not lavender. So if you are thinking of planting lavender, get it in the ground now. For the rest of this year, the plants will need to be watered. I suggest you treat them like you would geraniums. Water them well, let the soil dry out but not to the point the plants wilt, then water well again. Repeat. Once the plants are established they will tolerate dry conditions, but they need help to get started.

If you want more information about Prince Edward County Lavender check their website at http://www.peclavender.com
They offer tours of the fields for a modest $3. and you will learn a lot.

Finally, I finally have my website updated. On the main, home page are directions for making a lavender wand. Remember – you need fresh lavender, not dried. If your lavender has finished blooming, cut the blooms off and if you haven’t done so this year, prune the plant. You should get another bloom from most varieites.

Next time – Lavender Blue.

Advertisements