Just an FYI I am closing the shop to new orders next week. So get your orders in before that time! While I don't really get a "real" vacation per say due to have multiple wedding orders I need to work on during my vacation, I am going to close to new orders so I can concentrate on getting those few weddings out that are due before I reopen. So rest assured those people who have orders due out next week will get them as planned. That's being in business/self-employed! True time off in busy season is rare. Summer is busy season for weddings and also field work and harvesting. However, my hubs is off work next week so we should be able steal away some time here and there. He deserves a vacation with all the constant travel he has been logging in doing training in other states for his job. I am planning to work through the weekend to get most orders out so we can have some free time together.
My eldest son has been helping me tremendously in the field lately due to being tied up doing orders myself and with my husband traveling. Dear son has been my right-hand man when it comes to field work and planting and weeding etc. So wanted to thank him for all the help he has been to me.
It has been such a rough season for lavender growers and for us! I will admit I have shed some real tears over the loss of plants and how the field looks this year. I have had my son pull more plants that weren't completely dead but decided they had not recovered enough to make the winter. We are working on replacing about 1/4 of our field. It looks a mess right now so hence no pictures.
My son is working on redoing the field and husband and I will be helping him soon. We have a huge weed problem this year due to all the rain despite weed barrier and rock. We just cannot keep up! So, in desperation we are pulling up the river rock we put down last year and moving it off the field to another location. What a job! With only son working on it right now it will take awhile, but we hope to have it cleared by fall. We are then going to re-weed barrier the field with a good strong commerical weed barrier. No rock. When I put that rock down I certainly never envisioned pulling it back up but I also never envisioned all the rains and the uncontrollable weeds! Yikes. So lots of work ahead of us to redo the field.
All of our English lavender survived save one or two plants. New plants are coming in August. We are making a switch to mostly English lavender - Royal Velvet - as I stated was a possibility in another blog. It really is just more hardy in our growing zone and recovered the best after our long cold winter and wet spring. Most of the plants we lost were Grosso and ton of Phenomenal. I will keep the ones that survived, but not replacing that particular cultivar.
It's been hard not to be disheartened this year. I know other growers are in the same boat as us and some worse. One local growers had 80% loss of their fields. Another grower in Illinois lost her entire field and because of her advancing age decided not to replant and chose to go out of business and start over into a new life adventure. I am part of USLGA (United States Lavender Growers Association) and I've heard so many in the Midwestern lavender farmers facing massive losses and replanting. It's really hard on the small growers when we don't have thousands of plants to rely on and many lack the ability to repurchase and start over. We were lucky to have not lost more plants so we are working on trying to fix fields where we made some mistakes and replant.
In good news, we did still get a pretty decent harvest from the plants that did survive. Our wildflower fields are taking off. I replanted the middle field that had been all zinnas last year with a mix of perennial and annual wildflowers and it's growing great with all this rain. Our yarrow is huge. I also just planted some milkweed and butterfly weed. Our raised bed herb garden and vegetable gardens are also doing very well! So always a silver lining.
Shop closes Monday to new orders (July 29th) and will reopen on August 7th. Here are some pictures of some of the things I have been working on this week.