-We received our Monarch WayStation certification in the mail! So pleased. We are now on the National registery. We have a lot of plans to expand our Monarch field next year with more milkweed, butterfly weed, bee balm, more zinnias and moving our yarrow to the field. Our sunflowers will find a new home in a new location. The theme next year is all about the raised beds. We are going to do bulbs in beds - think glads, tulips and dahlias. We also will be working on a gated veggie and herb garden. I am most excited about that! We will also be planting larkspur and other flowers we use in our dried flower arrangements and floral designs. I am also planning to expand our little bird sanctuary we have by the patio. We have a cardinal feeder and hummingbird feeder. I will be moving the birdbath over to the little cut out garden at the patio where I planted a test garden. We will be moving some of our lavender and rose bushes over to that location. Can't forget about the birdies!
Hey, mark your calendar! The Vintage Market Home, which is one of the locations where we are a vendor, is having a Fall Open House. They just redid the entire store and from photos everything looks amazing! We restocked our products and I did take some fall floral design in as well as some hand-painted mason jars in fall colors. I will be trying to bring in some other fall themed designs and products next week. They also already have our Strawberry-Lavender Jam and Lavender Jelly. I will be bringing our Blackberry-Lavender in next week. If you are curious about these products stop in and get some! I can also take orders for local residents on the jellies and jams. Contact me via our contact page or at email@example.com or PM through our FB page. Sales must be face-to-face on the culinary products so we can arrange pick up or drop off. All other products can be purchased via our online shop available nationwide for shipping. I occasionally will ship to Canada as well upon request. Thanks all - Happy Fall - Its on the way! I've put together a slide show of our products at the Vintage Market Home. Also added a few photos of the newly redesigned clothing boutique. Check out their Facebook page here
Fall is my favorite season. While I do miss all my flowers and lavender, I enjoy the cool, crisp temperatures and beautiful fall leaves. It is not offically fall yet, but I am getting ready. I will be pruning back the lavender soon. I am already planning for next growing season.
Fall doesn't mean the end to our business though. We are working year round. I do floral designs for weddings and home decor year round and have started making some fall and holiday designs! We still have all our lavender products as well, which make lovely gifts. We are working on getting into a local retail store right here in Monroe and I am very excited about that. Details will be coming soon.
Black Walnut Crop Starting in October!
Our newest endeavor this fall is our black walnut crop! We have many, many black walnut trees on our property. Black walnuts are very difficult to get into but they offer many health benefits. They are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant and high in omega-3 fatty acids. You can learn more about the health benefits of black walnuts here
I mentioned in past blogs we will be supplying a Black Walnut supplier, and we are now ready to announce the name. We will be taking our walnuts to a hulling and buying location in Ohio and the name of the company we will be supplying with our nuts is Hammonds Black Walnuts. You can check out the list of black walnut products they makes. Black walnuts flavor is more earthy than regular walnuts. Some people do not care for them as they are not as mild as traditional walnuts, but many people consider them a delicacy and there is a large market for them especially with the health benefits they provide. The locator for hulling and buying locations is found here . We will start to collect the walnuts when they fall to the ground. Black walnuts are not picked from the tree, but rather you just wait for them to fall. Scoop them up in bags, baskets or bins and drop off to the hulling location. Pretty simple! So far we don't have any on the ground yet. The hulling location we use will start taking them in October. I will update with some pics of our first harvest.
Here are some fall pics I have taken from both downstate and in the Upper Peninsula to get you in the mood for the change of seasons.
I was surprised to go out into the field yesterday find a harvest of Hidcote English Lavender. I do recall a smaller harvest earlier in the summer, but we didn't get a ton of English lavender. We got more Grosso and Phenomenal (intermediate lavender). Mostly, the Melissa (light lavender color) bloomed earlier this summer. The Hidcote was late to bloom. I always enjoyed the deep purple color of this variety.
Another surprise was the sunflowers. I planted them when I planted the zinnia field and the wildflower fields. I assumed they didn't take or something was eating them as I didn't get any blooms. I guess I needed to be more patient, because they are blooming now proficiently. These are the not giant sized sunflowers, but rather smaller ones for bouquets. Our sunflowers were really part of a test plot. Next year I will move them to their own raised bed or field now that I see they seem to grow fairly well.
I am headed to the Vintage Market Home this evening with a ton of new products. Please head down and check this store out. It's right next to Stroh's at 110 Sycamore Wyandotte Mi. They carry our products including our bath/spa line, soaps, sachets, bouquets, lavender bundles, dried wreaths, laundry soaps, hand-painted mason jars and NEW! this month our lavender jelly and strawberry-lavender jam. Lavender Jelly is said to be one of Queen Elizabeth's favorites and it makes a wonderful tea jelly with scones or biscuits. The strawberry-lavender jam is really more like a preserve. It's not overly sugary. As my husband is diabetic I am careful to watch sugar. While it's not sugar-free (I am looking into a sugar-free recipe though), it has about half the sugar and it has little more tart taste with a hint of sweetness and just a hint of lavender - not overpowering. My family just had some on our toast with breakfast this morning and everyone seemed to enjoy it.
You can check out their Facebook page of the Vintage Market Home here
Here are some products they are carrying:
My goal for our property and lavender farm has somewhat shifted direction. I will be pursuing a horticulture therapy certificate and using our gardens to begin a private practice and workshops. I also will be available to do workshops at medical/treatment facilities or with non-profit organizations. I will still do lavender products and floral design as well. However, I have definitely decided to shift away from a traditional lavender farm.
I have been feeling lately that a regular agrotourism type of farm is not really quite right for me, our family, or our property.
Personality wise, I tend to like smaller groups. I also like to nurture, teach, and help people. I feel very led to use my gardening ability to help heal. Being a spiritual/Christian person, I actually prayed to ask God how to use my business and talents to help others and for His direction for the business. I felt very led to pursue Horticulture therapy.
So what is a horticulture therapist and what are healing gardens? "Horticultural therapy is defined by the American Horticultural Therapy Association as the engagement of a person in gardening and plant-based activities, facilitated by a trained therapist, to achieve specific therapeutic treatment goals." Wikipedia
A “rehabilitation garden,” “therapeutic garden,” or “enabling garden” is a garden where physical, occupational, horticultural, and other therapies take place. A “restorative landscape” or “landscape for health” is any landscape—wild or designed, large or small—that facilitates human health and well-being (Sachs, 2016).
A therapeutic garden can be considering a subcategory of a healing garden. Many healing gardens are found in rehabilitation center, hospitals and nursing homes. I would like to create a restorative and therapeutic type of environment on our property by our lavender fields. The lavender fields will serve a dual purpose of supplying my floral designs and also to be used in our restorative garden.
My intention is that I could help other people to know the healing power of horticulture and gardening as it helped me. Using gardening and nature to treat my own anxiety and depression has been very helpful and therapeutic approach to calming the mind and soul. Not only people with anxiety and depression can be helped by horticulture therapist, but also those with addiction issues, the elderly, troubled youth, and the disabled or cognitively impaired.
I'm in the beginning process of applying for a program and will provide updates as I go along. We have our lavender planted and we have already started a restorative landscape by planting our zinnia and wildflower field. I find the wildlife such as Monarch butterflies, other butterflies, bees, bunnies and other creatures that come to the meadow very relaxing and healing. It has become one of my favorite places to be. Since it's right next to our lavender fields, I can also see the lavender in bloom and catch the beautiful sent on the wind. We have seating (purple Adirondack chairs) to sit and just enjoy the flowers. Eagles and hawks can be seen flying overhead occasionally. Water is always something that has also called me. So walking down to the river and watching the geese, ducks, and other wildlife with weeping willow blowing in the wind down by our fire pit and woodshed/silo I also find very relaxing.
I will be planning our future raised beds and planting with keeping a mind towards growing some of the things I will use for floral design, but also making it restorative landscapes and enabling therapy activities.
Please continue to follow along with us for our lavender products, floral design and now updates as I progress towards my new goals.
I am beyond thrilled and over the moon about these dried lavender bundles. This is our first harvest from this property in Monroe, 2018 Harvest. I have many more bundles to collect from the barn but here are a few of the Grosso Lavender in English lavender. These are going right into bouquets that I'm making for wedding parties!
Speaking of wedding parties. We are running at about 4 weeks and prefer 6-8 for larger wedding party orders. What that means if I need at least 4 weeks to create your wedding party. Summer/Fall is our busiest time. My recommendation is to put your order in ASAP if you plan a wedding in Sept or October. It's not too early. This will give me time to order any extra supplies and to hold your place before I get too booked to take more orders. Orders of 1-2 bouquets I may be able to squeeze in but remember if there are others ahead of you who have ordered I am committed to make their order first even if your order is small. Just some advice, as we are getting booked. I also will be on vacation August 10-13th so the shop will be closed those dates. I will get current orders out either before I leave or when I return - I have contacted clients whose orders were due out in this timeframe to rescheduled delivery.
LOCAL ORDERS: Does not have to be local in terms of living in Monroe. I have clients from northern suburbs of Metro Detroit and those from Toledo, Ohio who have been willing to travel. The benefit to pick up is that you save shipping and/or I may be to shave off some time if you need the order in a rush. Since I don't have to allow for 2-3 days shipping time it will give me a few extra days to work on your order and could make the difference between being able to take the order or not in busy season. So local people please keep in mind if you won't mind the travel to Monroe/Frenchtown Twp area then we can arrange pick up as well.
NEW E-COMMMERCE: Will be up on our website. What this means is you no longer be redirected to our Etsy shop, but you will be able to order directly from us on the website on our own e-commerce store. We are starting to veer away from Etsy due to their excessive fees. We will still be keeping our Etsy store for a while during transition, but eventually hope to get all e-commerce through website and phase Etsy out over a period of months. I hope to offer some discounts on our new own e-commerce to encourage it's use. Right now, we are just working on getting it up and running and I hope to have it up later this week.
,I was blessed to be asked to do my bio for a new website Called Unending Possibility, which is a networking website for women and women-owned business forum. I am a former medical transcriptionist with 18 plus years in the field. Bambi Feaster, the founder of the Unending Possibilty website, is also a former MT trying to reach out and help others in the field as it comes to a close and declines. Bambi and I "met" through a Life After Medical Transcription Group where those of us out of the field try to help and mentor those transitioning to a new career field. Many of these women were in the field of medical transcription for most of their adult working lives. Most of us loved the field and it once afforded a great income to support our families. Some of these women were employees, some independent contractors, and other small business owners with 15, 20, or even 30 years of experience. Increasingly, they are now left trying to find a new career path with onset of outsourcing to medical charts offshore, plummeting wages, lack of work, and also with the advent of speech recognition and healthcare systems going to EPIC (healthcare software). These women have tremendous skill sets, mad researching skills, and tremendous innovation. In my humble opinion, the medical field has always undervalued the medical transcription field. It takes great skill to type 75-80 wpm (or more), fix grammar and punctuation on the fly, and type from spoken word and make sure all technical terms, instruments, and procedures are accurate and correct.
My bio is currently on the Unending Possibility website. I would like to reach out and share that bio and also Bambi's website. I hope this will inspire people that they CAN make a career change at any age! (I am now 50 and transitioned out of the field in 2014).
My bio on the website can be found here
Here is an excerpt from Unending Possibility About page. Visit the website here
WHAT UNENDING POSSIBILITY IS ALL ABOUT
Welcome to Unending Possibility. I’m Bambi Feaster, owner of the site. For the last 40+ years, I’ve primarily worked in health information documentation. In some circles, we’re known as medical transcriptionists, MTs, documentation specialists, editors. No matter what you call us, our world has slowly been blown up, leaving many of us wondering how to support ourselves. A large number of transcriptionists are over the age of 50, many single and self supporting. I’ve had this domain name for some years and was never quite sure what I was going to do with it. A few weeks ago, it found a purpose.
I’m reaching out to any woman who may find herself needing a tribe, needing to network, or that place to go to that says, “Here, let me help.” My intention is not to reinvent the wheel. I am going to compile lists of job sites, will share whenever I hear of a good gig, and will try to share some education for jobs you might not have considered. So if you hear of a job you think I should list, please send it on to me (see our Contact page).
I’ll be blogging as well on topics that I think may be of interest and timely for the audience I’m trying to reach. While anyone is welcome, admittedly this site will be geared toward women 50 and older. I’ll try to cover a wide range of topics but all relating in some way to the Possibilities we have at this time in our lives.
You will also find our Women-Owned Businesses page. I think the title is self-explanatory, but here I’ll highlight women who have left the desk and reinvented themselves, or found something totally different to do at the desk. Look for our podcasts coming soon! Until then, I will be doing written interviews with these women so others may be inspired
I just did a blog about availability of visits to our farm or "farmette" as I like to call it because we are a small lavender farm. We are not set up for large argrotourism events. However, we are interested in any garden tours that might be available for next season (2019) to share our fields and grounds.
This is a way we thought we could share our fields and also our natural wildflower meadow and other plants. We are working towards turning grass into meadows! We started a test plot this year and it has done amazing! We'd be happy to show people how we dry our lavender and our drying racks and also will have some various products on display.
If anyone has info on any such tours or garden clubs intersted in the Monroe County Michigan area please contact us through our contact form or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are looking to set up for next season.
Keep in mind we are a smaller farm and will need to stagger visits, depending how large he group, to allow only smaller groups (possibly 10-15 people at one time). Parking is limited, although we are across the street from a large park with parking.
More Info for Garden Clubs or Tours:
I would like to let you know we have our own small lavender farm right on the outskirts of Monroe. We have over 300 plants of different varieties of lavender and also a wildflower meadow/zinnia meadow with more extensive planting for next year.
We fill another niche with our planting. We do a lot of floral design and weddings and are working on growing all our own flowers our dried floral arrangements. We have a very active online store for traditional lavender products and floral designs. We also are a vendor at the The Vintage Market Home in Downtown Wyandotte (new vintage retailer). We were also featured on Toledo News 24 on Mother's Day! www.lavenderrosefarms.com is our website.
We would love to be involved with any garden tours next season. Late June to mid July is the best time to see lavender in bloom.
We've had a lot of requests for visits to the farm and while we appreciate the interest, we are not open to the public at this time. As I have mentioned before we might open for select special events by appointment in coming seasons.
So why isn't our farm open to agrotourism like many larger farms? Part of the answer is we just moved to this property in 2017 so this is only our second season growing here. We planted from scratch in 2017. Lavender takes about 3 years to reach full maturity. While we do have a few older plants we brought from our previous home, most plants we have are only 2 years old. We were very happy to get a harvest this year. We got more than anticipated! Despite that, we don't expect a full harvest until next year.
To have a larger lavender farm you do need to be in a generally rural area to have enough acreage to plant. Some larger farms actually are very large and plant several acres of lavender. They also may have an onsite store, other gardens, and some even have event centers plus possibly their home and parking to accommodate. Think in term of large cider mills and the amount of land those require. Now, not all lavender farms are this big, but many are. Some are mid-sized and plant an acre of lavender and possibly have an onsite store in a walk-out basement or other outbuilding.
We did look at several properties that would have made all this a possibility for us, but with that also came into play the condition of the house with the land, did it have outbuildings since we needed a barn or some structure for drying lavender and amount of parking etc. Also most of these properties were truly very rural and some distance from town. Also cost came into play as it's quite expensive to buy large acreage.
We really had to define our families wants and needs and balance that with wanting to do our lavender farm. I started as a gardener because I loved flowers and also the therapeutic aspects of it. I have talked in previous posts/blogs about my struggle with anxiety/depression. Gardening and lavender in particular really soothed those conditions. So what started as a hobby and sort of thearpy morphed into a business, which I am very grateful for. However, I had to think about what can we afford in terms of land/house, what needs did it need to meet for our family and for myself as well and how much of our property did we want to have open to the public.
We settled on a property that was only 2.5 acres, but it did have the size of home we needed in the condition we needed (not a lot of renovation). It also had a very large barn with electricity and place to store products and dry our lavender. It's on the edge of town so not really truly rural. It's more semi-rural. There are some subdivisions across the street from us and on our side of the road most are homes with large lots of several acres.
Our property originally was a strip farm, which are long ribbons of land used for farming along a roadway. Our property ends at the River Raisin so we have river front where we can put in our canoe and utilize the river, which was an added bonus. However, because the width of the property is not as great as the length and we have neighbors on either side, we decided it was best not have public access at all times. We felt this met our privacy needs for our family as well.
So, today, we run our our "farmette" as a way to supply our lavender products and floral designs. I do occasionally still purchase from other larger farms when floral design orders are more than our fields can produce. We are working towards growing everything here on our land that we use in our products and designs.
Also, unlike many lavender farms, our intent was never to be a lavender-only farm. I started a wildflower meadow and a zinnia field this year. I also did a test plot with yarrow, gladiolus and dahlias. We plan to expand all of these and more in coming years. We also grow roses, peonies, and lilacs and we have wild grapes on our property. I am going to be making some jelly from these this year!
As far as visits to the farm... in future seasons we may open to the public for special events such a U-pick or some other type of event. However, much of that depends on our harvest. We have 300 lavender plants and right now no plans to expand that planting area for the lavender. I am concentrating on getting those plants mature and healthy. We just finished the field this year in terms of planting and mulching it with river rock.
We do try to make our products readily available... We have a strong online presence with our website and Etsy store. We also are starting to do a few in-person markets. You can also find our products in The Vintage Market Home 110 Sycamore Wyandotte Mi - a retail vintage and handmade store.
If we do decide to do any visits to the farm, it most likely will be by appointment. For instance if someone is looking for fresh lavender and it's in bloom, I could certainly set an appointment for an individual to come out and pick some lavender for a few bouquets. As mentioned, we may do some special event workshop or classes in the future where you would be able to see the lavender and wildflower meadows. I have worked with local residents around the Monroe for pick up and delivery of products and wedding party orders so they don't have to pay shipping. I had a client in Wyandotte, when we were residing in Riverview, that I used to deliver culinary lavender to at her house. You can always email us or use the contact form if you desire delivery or pick up options locally. Follow our events page to see upcoming markets and events.
Please bear with us as we grow and find the right footing for our business and home! We are so glad you follow our progress and I have received some nice feedback from readers!
I feel so incredibly blessed. When we bought this property I had planned out a lavender field as that was our original plan. So this year we have had our first harvest after planting this year and last. We finally completed the field includig the Rock mulch and our lavender is drying in the barn. In my dreams, I also envisioned a field of wildflowers, zinnas, yarrow, and other kinds of flowers. . We just started on a test plot this year for glads, dahlias, and yarrow. We intend to really expand and do a larger field behind the lavender. We did a square plot adjacent to the back bed this year as sort of a test plot for direct sowing. We did some sunflowers, which were smaller ones for cut flowers. They are growing, but no blooms yet. We did a section with zinnia seeds and a section with wildflower seeds. I thought I might use some of the zinnias and sunflowers for cut flowers, but mostly the pasture was to attract butterflies and bees. Today, when I went out to check the field and do some weeding in the lavender fields, I saw so many butterflies including a monarch! The field of wildflowers and zinnias are not in full bloom, but they are beginning. I couldn't be more pleased!
I always dreamed of fields of wildflowers and other types of flowers. Sort of my own meadow. I hope you enjoy the pictures as as much as I do (see the slideshow below). I feel very blessed that we have this land to create beautiful gardens. I see the nature, including all the butterflies and the bees around, and it makes me happy. We have bunnies making a home in the zinni's, which I guess is okay as long as they stay out of the lavender!
Our plans are to start some raised beds for some flowers, veggies and herbs. We will be expanding the flower meadow/pastures as well. The direction we want to take our small "farmette" is to be a lavender and dried flower farm. We will do some fresh cuts as well. I hope to grow most of the flowers I use in my floral design! Our property is only 2.5 acres and we would like to keep it manageable for my husband and myself to maintain. We have made a conscious effort to produce a variety of great lavender and other flowers, but yet still remain a try small farm. Our products are readily available online and at the Vintage Market Home. Remember, the Wyandotte Street/Art Fair is this weekend so stop into the Vintage Market Home at 110 Sycamore. They are open all weekend. We took a bunch of floral designs and other products down to the store this week! Also follow our events page for other farmers and vintage markets we will be attending.
Keep following us... I hope our journey inspires you whether you want a big agro-tourism type farm of your own or a small "farmette" like we have, or you just simply enjoy gardening and flowers. God bless!
I have received more photos of the stylized wedding shoot by Joy Photography. I just wanted to share them with you. I think they look amazing. This is our Country Meadow bouquet and boutonniere. The colors look a little peachy due to lighting but there is a actually sage green, pink, yellows, blue and purples. The listing can be found here. I made a slideshow of the shoot since I received quite a few more pictures. Thank you to Joy Photography for the beautiful photos!