The lavender is only just beginning to blossom in Provence - all being well, it will be harvested at the end of July. But over in the southern states of the USA, the lavender is already at its peak.
As all bloggers know, one of the joys of putting words out into cyberspace is that you never know what connections are about to be made, and once they are, getting in touch is easy. Libby at An Eye for Detail (a great blog for style and interiors with a French twist) ran a piece about Bluebird Hill Farm in North Carolina, and a few clicks later, I was there.
Clearly, the proprietor Norma Burns is an inspirational woman. Lavender is only one of the speciality crops she has brought to Bennett, NC: her small organic farm grows herbs, vegetables and fruit too. "We are always experimenting with new crops, trying to figure out how to make them grow here - things like lavender, ginger, hops, kiwi, highbush cranberries, and others not often seen in our area," she says.
"The 500 “Grosso” lavender plants were selected after research as being best suited to our climate in the Southeast. We sited the field with attention to slope, prevailing winds and plant ventilation, site orientation, irrigation, and soil composition. (...)
"Over the years, our lavender has grown. We are adding more plants, replacing aging ones, and introducing equipment to facilitate the harvest. Last year, we purchased a walk-behind Lavender Harvester from New Zealand and an 85 gallon biomass Distiller for making Lavender Essential Oil which are fun to watch in operation."
June will be busy as some of the harvest is made into dried lavender flowers for craft use, lavender sachets for drawers and closets, sleep pillows, linen and room spray, eye masks and eye goggles, teas, herbal mixes and spice rubs and culinary grade dried flowers for use in cooking. For the full range and details, visit the Bluebell Hill Farm website.
While you're there, you might well find yourself lost in admiration for the vast and imaginative array of salad leaves grown there too (here), which include garden purslane, hyssop, lemon thyme and flowers, chocolate mint and spearmint - and I'd never even heard of cinnamon basil before, but I certainly want to try some now!