This winter I had the pleasure of presenting to the Grapevine Garden Club of Sewickley, PA. Chris and I loaded the car with lavender filled pillows, closet sachets, Lavender Lover’s Bath and Body products and our Aromatherapy line so that they could shop a little after our talk about our work here at the farm. We presented at the very accommodating and technically up to speed Edgeworth Country Club, right in the heart of Sewickley.
Valentine’s Day was just around the corner, so love was the theme of our talk. The #United States Lavender Growers Association had just posed a question at their recent Conference in San Antonio, “Are you in the lavender business for love or money?” As you can imagine, almost everyone said “both”. I had to think long and hard about this question because for me LavenderGreen was all about the love and I wondered if I had ever considered the financial implications of this venture. The answer “was not at all”.
Partly this lapse was because I didn’t need to think about profit because I was working in Washington DC as an innovation process consultant to membership associations there and could therefore subsidize the farm and the kids and the lavender with earnings from my practice. So LavenderGreen developed without a business plan, even though I knew how to write one. Reflecting back to 1990 and making a timeline for how we got to now, was a good exercise. I began to take stock through some self examination–and an unexamined life is not a life worth living, right?
Anyway, back to love. There are many layers of love involved in our case. Love of the farm and the land itself and the memories of spending lazy summer afternoons here as a kid, usually in a hammock reading a book. Love of my family and all of the warm and safe memories that our big family could provide and wanting to recreate that memory for the next generation. Love for the community weighed in, too. Here, the center of social life was the Dutch Reformed Church and the grange. Everyone in Little Germany and Knox seemed like good people, then and now. Love of the pace of life and the feeling that we are set back in time.
Love of the plant is possibly the main ingredient. I fell in love with the plant 25 years ago after first touching its leaves in a place called Pickety Place in New Hampshire. That was the very first time I had even seen a lavender plant and I purchased two to plant in pots in front of our house in Concord, MA. When we bought the farm, those two plants were planted here and still survive to this very day. Our plant population sort of mushroomed from there but we’ve lost some due to too much rain and poor drainage, frost heave from planting too early in the spring, and most recently winter kill from 19 days of sustained winter temperatures below zero degrees. We’ve replanted after every loss. Our love for lavender seems undaunted and we continue to research better methods of planting to reduce loss.
The Sequim Lavender Growers Association, members of the US Lavender Growers Association posted this very succinct article, How to Grow Beautiful Lavender, that I’d like to share with you to increase your probability of success with your own lavender plants. Sequim has about the perfect location for growing lavender in the US, located in the Olympic Peninsula in the great state of Washington. If, like us, you’re located in cooler growing zones, refer to our article Building a Lavender Garden from Scratch.