Today is a snow day! We are getting snowed in here in Southeastern Michigan. Forecasts are for 6-10 inches of snow and under a winter storm warning. I am cozy inside with a cup of hot coffee. My husband is working from home today and we have been enjoying the many birds outside our kitchen window feeding from the feeders and the bird cakes I recently started making. My son and I added about 6 of the cakes to the tree and bushes on our patio where many birds like to nest. We also have a cardinal couple that resides there. We bought a cardinal feeder as well. Cardinals are very pretty against the snowy backdrop! Since it's a cozy day inside, I thought I'd do a blog to answer some frequently asked questions I get through my Etsy shop and emails.
1. When should I order my dried bouquets? It is best to order at least 8 weeks before an event for wedding parties and custom orders. Occasionally, we can accommodate orders in less time, but we are particularly busy during spring and summer. Our bouquets are made-to-order. Please allow enough time for us to create them for you.
2. Do you carry floral crowns? Not at this time. As answered in our previous blog, we are working on a line of floral crowns. When they are available to purchase we will post them to our shop.
3. How do I store my bouquets and how long will they last? Wrap them in some newspaper or tissue paper to prevent them from drawing in moisture from the air. Then place the wrapped flowers in a box or storage bin so they don’t get crushed. Keep them out of damp basements and overly dry spots, like attics.
Dried bouquets left out for home decor: Dust with a feather duster. While they can last many months to years, dried bouquets eventually will need to be replaced. To minimize fading keep dried bouquets and wreaths out of direct sunlight.
4. How long does dried lavender last? Lavender can last from months to years! If lavender is in sachets you can simply squeeze the bags and the scent returns.
5. Do you do Wholesale? On certain products we are able to give a 10-20 % discount on bulk orders. All of our bulk listings on our shop already have this discount applied to the price. If you need even larger amounts of a product than what is available on our shop you can always drop me a note. We may be able to accommodate depending on stock.
6. How much lavender should I buy to fill my own sachets or to use as wedding toss? A pound of premium dried Lavender buds averages just over 14 cups. How many sachets you can fill will depend on the size of sachet and how full you want them to be. Small wedding toss sachets (3” x 4”) take about a 1/4 to 1/3 cup of lavender, so a pound of lavender buds will fill about 40 of the small sachets. Wedding Toss Loose: Use about 1/2 to 1 cup per guest if using a basket for guest to help themselves.
7. What variety of lavender is best for culinary purposes? Lavandula Angustifolia (or English lavender) is the best choice. There are many varieties such as Royal Velvet, Hidcote, or Munstead to name a few. French lavender or craft lavender is generally not used for culinary purposes. I prefer Royal Velvet, but have used other English lavender varieties. Currently our farm is growing Royal Velvet, Hidcote, Folgate, and Munstead English varieties.
8. Can I purchase fresh lavender from you? Unfortunately, this is currently not available. Lavender is in bloom usually June-July. Currently we are using all the lavender we produce for our floral designs and products. We are continuing to expand our planting and hope to offer fresh bundles in the future.
9. Do you have bulk dried bundles available (wholesale)? Again, we are currently using all our lavender for our products and to create our floral designs. This may change with increased planting.
10. Where is your farm and when may I visit? We are located in Southeastern Michigan in Frenchtown Township (Monroe, MI mailing address). We are currently not open to the public as we are still in our "creating" stage. We are filing in the rest of our lavender beds in 2018 and creating several other gardens such as herb gardens, rose gardens, perennial gardens and erecting a greenhouse. We do hope to have visits to the farm in the future seasons by appointment, for scheduled workshops, and field trips. We prefer to plan arrivals/departures and traffic flow in the future rather than having set public hours.
11. Speaking engagements: At this time, we do not plan to do any speaking events for 2018. We are currently completely booked between in-person markets, planning/planting our fields and other gardens, and our online shop. My husband works a full-time job and my sons also work/have college so I am our only full-time farm worker. I am our only floral designer for the farm and online orders. Spring and Summer in particular can be very busy with wedding party orders. Please stay tuned for announcements about changes to our availability for speaking engagements, and thank you for understanding.
12: May I schedule a private photography session at your farm? As of this season we are unable to accommodate such events due to many of our plants being fairly young and our fields and gardens are not yet completed However, we DO hope to offer this service hopefully in summer 2019. There will be a session fee of 50.00 for use of the property for 2 hours. Our property is scenic and in park-like setting backed by the River Raisin. It is a ribbon farm. Ribbon farms or strip farms are long, narrow land divisions, usually lined up along a waterway and/or a roadway. We also have many black walnut trees Blue Spruces, Eastern White Pines, wildflowers, a fire pit area and old-fashioned tin wood shed and Weeping Willow by the river. Our plans are to incorporate many more gardens, which will make our property a beautiful place for photography. We will make an announcement when are accepting photography session.
13. Do you consult with would-be lavender farmers? Yes, if you would like a private a consultation I can talk with you by phone or though email if you are not local. There is 50.00 fee for a private consultation that includes more in depth one-on-one information with reading materials provided. You may go to our Etsy shop and find the listing for private consultation and pay online. Please provide contact information so we can arrange to talk via phone or email. Remember I am located in Michigan so my growing conditions may differ from your own. I will do my best to help with your area as far as to adapt the consultation to meet your climate conditions, recommendations for plant varieties, some growers I have used to purchase plants in my area but also nationwide etc. I will also provide a Lavender Grower's Guide that I used when I was first starting out and found very helpful and it's a resource I continue to refer back to.
For Free Information about Lavender Growing: I do post gardening tips/lavender growing information as part of our blog and I post many articles related to growing lavender and other plants on our Facebook page. A great suggestion for prospective lavender farmers is to join the United States Lavender Grower's Association, which also has a Facebook Group where you can go ask questions online. Lavender farmers are generally a helpful lot, however, our time is limited due to own farms and businesses. Networking with USGLA is a great way to meet other growers both online and offline. There is helpful information on the internet about lavender growing as well just start googling. I am completely self taught and did a lot of research and sought out many free resources! A lot of our my experience was good old trial and error. Also you may try to reach out to your extension horticulture agent such as Volunteer Master Gardeners. Here in Michigan it through MSU Extension Program.
14. What is the best way to reach us? Email at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can send me a note through our website contact form or shop message through our Etsy shop. I try to reply in a timely fashion.
15. Where can I see your products? Online on our website/Etsy shop. I also post regularly to Facebook and Instagram to announce new products. In-Person: Visit our events page on our website. We have our first market 2018 coming up at the Chic and Unique Vintage and Handmade Market in Brownstown Mi on May 12. Full details are on our events page of all upcoming markets.
16. Does your farm just produce lavender? No! As touched on in previous answers, we grow other botancials and flowers, plants and trees. We have about 250 lavender plants currently with another 100 to be planted this season coming (2018). Our varieties included Hidcote, Munstead, Royal Velvet, Folgate, Melissa, Grosso, and Phenomenal. We also will be starting a herb garden. We grow other wildflowers and perennials. As our name indicates we also grow roses. We have multiple rose bushes but plan on starting a rose garden and expanding our planting. We provide dried roses to our shop. We also grow peonies and lilacs. Our farm has many mature Black Walnut trees. In fall, 2018 we will begin supplying a black walnut supplier/product company with our walnuts. We also have wild grapes down by the riverfront that the River Raisin was named after. We will begin to use these to make wild grape jelly this season. We also have plans to plant other berry bushes such as raspberries, blackberries, and thimbleberries.
If I have missed any questions you might have feel free to put the questions in our comment section and I will check back and do my best to answer all questions. Thanks so much for supporting us on our journey.
Lavender Rose Farms LLC