Garden Diary - June 2013

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It's like being in Provence, except we're in Pennsylvania. The garden club is having a wonderful tour of Carousel Farm Lavender.

Niko explains about the cultivation and harvesting of lavender, and its processing
here at the farm into essential oil and hydrosol, and the diversity of lavender products.

What is a farm without livestock? Carousel Farm has cattle, boer goats . . . . and a herd
of donkeys. There's one who must fell itchy. A dust bath helps him sheds his winter coat.


Next, Niko takes us down the driveway to the spring house. Water comes up from the earth at a constant 56 degrees Fahrenheit. In pre-refrigerator days it would have been used to chill dairy products such as milk and butter, and fresh meat, keeping the food cool in summer and retarding spoilage. In winter, that same temperature prevents freezing. Today the spring house is a fabulous wine cellar, complete with a lacy wire table and a pair of chairs. No doubt, ideal for sampling a bottle of wine as evening falls and the fireflies begin to light up.

There is a concrete "island" surrounded by a broad moat of cold spring water
circulating around it of a bed of coarse cobbles. Bins hold the maturing wine.

As well, a couple of alembics full of lavender hydrosol are here,
aging in the coolth and dark. And more wine, waiting to be racked.


Lavender is everywhere, planted as an ornamental as well as a crop plant.

Loving details please the eye at every turn, like this scented geranium topiary
underplanted with Oxalis regnellii in a mossy, ruffle edged pot. Or a window

providing soft backlighting for a collection of terra cotta jugs.

A glass cloche in the potager, at this season ornamental rather than protective.

Subtle combination of flowering lambs ear, the fuzzy gray leaves soft against gravel and the
layers of fencing going this way and that, to enclose a private swimming pool behind the house.

photo credit Joan Carter

And at day's end, I happily go home with an armful of lavender, thoughts of lavender wands and sleep pillows, scented lavender vinegar,
lavender infused sugar for baking shortbread this winter, and homemade herbs de Provence. An excellent day, with memories. And lavender.

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