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The Lavender List, 2011: Festivals and Fun

 the lavender lady photo

Alison Makkinga harvesting lavender; photo courtesy of Happy Valley Lavender; taken by Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist Newspaper, Victoria, BC, Sunday July 10, 2005

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A lavender festival is a feast for all of your senses. Wandering among the fields is visually stunning and aromatic beyond compare. The sound of the bees hard at work and other folks also admiring the view is stimulating as you feel the fresh lavender you are about to cut. The best part of all, however, are all the unusual culinary creations that you are likely to encounter.

Here we provide a list of the upcoming lavender festivals around the world in 2009. Keep reading past the festival list for hints on what to expect and what to take along plus how to care for those plants you are sure to bring home.



The List

June 10 through 12  The Seventh Annual Blanco Lavender Festival

Four lavender farms band together in the Texas Hill Country to offer a variety of events that include tours, cuttings and informational classes.      

June 17,18 and 19   The Pennsylvania Lavender Festival

Willow Pond Farm in Fairfield celebrates ten years of hosting the festival. Look for garden tours, a number of workshops, live music and a special children's corner. New this year is the "Cooking the Lavender" recipe contest.

June 25 and 26  The 2011 Lavender Days Festival

Johnson Hill Farms in Franklin County, Massachusetts plays host to visitors who want to enjoy the Lavender Labyrinth or wander the apple orchard. Lavender oil distilling will be demonstrated each day. Workshops and dove releases round out the fun.  

June 25 and 26 Sonoma Lavender Food and Wine Festival

Sonoma Lavender Barn celebrates all the good things in life from aromatherapy to zippy lavender drinks. Don't miss the beekeeper and his lavender honey.

July through July 17 (Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays)  Lavender Daze 2011

Take part in the harvest at the Happy Valley Lavender and Herb Farm on beautiful Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Take home lavender wands or your own plants after you have indulged in some unusual tasty treats. Arrange to be a volunteer and you can help harvest the lavender.

July 23 and 24  Victorian Lavender Festival

Seafoam Lavender Farm (formerly known as Beach Lane Lavender Farm) in Seafoam Nova Scotia, invites you to spend the day down on the farm. Live music, U-pick and a variety of treats, culinary and aromatic, will be available.  

July 9  Lavender: A Day of Rejuvenation for Body & Soul

Combine your lavender adventure with a tour of the Canterbury Shaker Village in Canterbury, New Hampshire. This year relax with a yoga class, massage or take a lesson on skin care. Plenty of children's activities too.

July 15, 16 and 17 The First Annual Colorado Lavender Festival

Enjoy the beauty of the blooming fields while learning how to grow your own at one of the many seminars. Farm tours, live music and delicious food complete the scene.

July 15, 16 and 17 Sequim Lavender Festival

This is a big one! With Puget Sound as a backdrop, the annual summer celebration kicks into gear on the Street Fair's main stage. Growers display dozens of varieties of lavender as you tour up to thirty farms or just enjoy the marketplace.

July 15 and 16  Michigan's 9th Annual Lavender Festival

Hosted by the folks at Gabriel's Garden and Blakes Orchard and Cider Mill, this year's event celebrates "A Symphony for the Senses" with workshops and lectures, demonstrations and cooking classes plus artists, gourmet food and a whole lot more.

July 16 and 17  The Tenth Annual San Juan Island  Lavender Festival

Pelindaba Lavender is nestled in the hills on San Juan Island in Washington State. Bring your lunch or buy a gourmet box lunch on-site and enjoy a picnic overlooking the fields. Certified organic!

July 9 and 10  Oregon Lavender Festival

Get yourself to historic Yamhill for an art show, demonstrations, craft classes and just plain fun. Yamhill is perferct as a jumping off point to the area's dozens of lavender farms

Late June to mid-July each Year  Hida Kiyomi Lavender Festival

Described as "walking on a purple cloud," thousands of lavenders at the Pascal Lavender Park share the stage with the flowers in Makkaichi Lavender Park in Kiyomi, Takayama City, Japan,

Mid-July through August each Year  Provence and Beyond

Naturally, France celebrates this lovely flower. Use the link above to find a list of seven of the events around Provence.

First Three Weeks in January  Australian Lavender Festivals 

Lavender is celebrated at a different time of year for those of us who aren't "down under." Check the list link above to find the lavender farms down there.

Tips for Visiting
  • While we strive for accuracy, double check to make sure all the information is current before setting out to visit a farm.
  • Wear comfortable shoes, carry water and take the sunscreen--these are outdoor events that may require a good bit of walking, or meandering at least.
  • Consider taking a picnic lunch. Lavender farms are a lovely place to relax. Most will offer snacks for sale but you may need something more substantial than the usual sweet treats and condiments.
  • Allow plenty of time to wander about the grounds and gift shops.
  • Take your camera but always ask before shooting.
  • Many of the farms say "No dogs please," so you'll probably want to leave Fido or Fluffy at home.
  • Keep your eyes open for shopping opportunities. Lavender often inspires romantic paintings and home decor items.

Growing Your Own
Our friend Kristi Fina from White Picket Gardens in Stanwood, Washington offers these hints for growing lavender:
  • Lavender likes a light, well-drained loamy soil. It grows naturally in limestone soils. Good drainage is a must, raised beds are best. When planting add 1/4 cup of dolomite lime as well as 1/4 cup bonemeal and mulch with sand or oyster shells (this keeps the foliage drier as well as reflects heat for bigger flowers). Do not use bark or compost--rot can occur if too much moisture is held in place with the mulch.
  • Lavandula angustifolia and intermediates are the hardiest, surviving to Zone 4.
  • Lavender is drought-tolerant after the first year. Soaker hose is much better than overhead watering for these plants.
  • Prune at least once a year. March is the best time. Cut down to the third leaf node. Remove any flower heads in the fall if they were not picked for drying.
  • When harvesting, ask yourself what will you be using the flowers for? For culinary purposes, cut those buds that are not opened at all. For potpourri, choose buds that have opened all the way for the best oil content. To use the lavender dried, cut flowerheads that are just opening.
  • Dry lavender in 100 stem bundles hung upside down in a dark, well-ventilated area. 


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Other articles you might enjoy:

1. All About Lavender

2. Interview with the Herb of the Year 2010: Dill

3. All About Calendula: Herb of the Year 2008

4. Growing Marsh Mallows

5. A Book Review: The Bountiful Container




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