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.