Archive for March, 2014

Plan a Lavender Year

March 29, 2014

Canada Blooms has drawn to a close for 2014. After any kind of winter, it is nice to be surrounded by flowers and trees and start thinking about the new gardening season. There were 2 lavender booths at the show. For several years now, NEOB (Niagara Essential Oils & Blends ) has had a booth showcasing their products and promoting their festival. This year they are having a Garlic and Herb Festival in September. They are unique in the Ontario landscape as their focus is growing plants they can distill for essential oils and they now have several farms growing plants for them. Their store is located just outside Niagara-on-the-Lake, about ½ hour from Niagara Falls, Ontario. One of my well-travelled girlfriends picked up some of their rose geranium soap and says it is amazing. Their web site is: http://www.neoblavender.com

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Rebecca and Melissa at the NEOB booth.

The Ontario Lavender Association, a group of lavender growers, in Ontario had a booth for the first time. They had products from members and lots of information to share about growing lavender. They have a new initiative for the next 2 years – The Purple Road – to promote the lavender farms in Ontario. They have produced a lovely guide and I can’t wait to hit the road this summer. Visit the site at: ontariolavenderassociation.org

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Kevin Beagle of Weirs Lane Lavender, Anita Buhner and her husband Steve, of the Ontario Lavender Association.

Apple Hill Lavender

A few years ago I went to Sequim in Washington State for their lavender festival and conference. I hope I can go again because to see lavender growing against the background of the snow topped Olympic Mountains is a sight I will not forget. There was one other Canadian at the conference and although I was booked to fly from Seattle to Vancouver to Toronto, she was looking for company to drive to Victoria, BC. From there she was flying to Toronto. I decided to join her and we had a lovely drive and I had the chance to look for lavender around in nurseries around Victoria.

Friday, my mother and I went to One Of A Kind and who did I meet? This same lady, Jan Schooley! She and her husband, who is into Apples, are now growing lavender on their farm in the Simcoe area, south of Brantford, Ontario. They had their first booth at the show, filled with soaps, oil, dried flowers and even lavender hydrosols, which are not easy to find. Lots to see this year in Ontario.

‘Phenomenal’ Lavender

March 16, 2014

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Canada Blooms opened Friday March 14th and I spent Saturday there soaking in the garden sights and smells I’ve been craving since the first snow fell.  Tulips and hyacinths filled containers.

 

The gardens are very good this year.  The Toronto Botanical Gardens, inspired by head horticulturist, Paul Zammit, designed an urban backyard garden, overflowing with vegetables from around the world — Okra, Chinese hot red peppers, Thai hot chili peppers, Yard-long beans, Bottle Gourd, Daikon radish and exotic eggplants.  Many of these veggies are grown locally in Ontario.

 

There were some herbs in the mix, including lavender, and they had small L. stoechas topiaries for sale.  It took great restraint not to pick up a few of these but I have enough plants in the house at the moment.

 

The Ontario Lavender Association has a booth at Canada Blooms this year.  They are in the area behind the Garden Marketplace and are promoting Ontario Lavender Farms.

 

Last year a new lavender was available in Canada.  Lavandula x intermedia ‘Phenomenal’ is supposed to be one of the better lavenders introduced in a few years.  It has excellent winter hardiness and performs well in extreme heat and humidity.  Richters, located north of Toronto at Goodwood Ontario, has greenhouses that are a treat during our frosty winters.  They sell plants and seed through mail order and offer ‘Phenomenal’ plants.  As it is a L. x intermedia, it will be sterile and seeds will not be available.  Visit their site at Richters.com and look at all the other lavenders they offer.

 

 

Gardenimport.com also has ‘Phenomenal’ plants for sale via mail order and I am looking forward to acquiring one this year.