Purple overdose

16 06 2008

In an effort to keep my sister Debbie entertained (and it’s not hard to do, I’m happy to say), we drove up to the Pennsylvania Lavender Festival in Fairfield, Pennsylvania. An annual event, the festival is hosted by Madeline and Tom Wajda, owners of Willow Pond Farm. The 32-acre, family-owned herb farm is located fifteen minutes west of Gettysburg. Willow Pond Farm offers nearly 100 certified organic varieties of lavender on three acres. Three of the varieties, ‘Madeline Marie’, ‘Rebecca Kay’, and ‘Two Amys’, were developed at the farm. There are also a dozen demonstration gardens—culinary herbs, edible flowers, antique roses, mint, scented geraniums, salvias, medicinal herbs, biblical plants, and dye plants. There is also a silver “moon” garden, a sun garden, a shade garden, a butterfly garden, and a 200-foot-long perennial border.

I had the opportunity to talk to author Susan Belsinger. Susan co-authored The Creative Herbal Home with with Tina Marie Wilcox. Susan wrote three of the books in my personal library—Not Just Desserts, Gourmet Herbs, and The Garlic Book. Check out the other titles in Susan’s bookstore.

Author Tina Marie Wilcox has been the head gardener and herbalist at the Heritage Herb Garden at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, Arkansas, since 1984. She has collaborated with Susan on articles that have appeared in The Herbarist (published by the Herb Society of America), The Herb Companion and Herbs for Health.

She is also a contributing editor of The Herb Companion, an excellent resource for all things herbal. Susan said the magazine was recently redesigned and is even better! Since I sometimes have a hard time finding the publication at local bookstores, I decided to finally sign up for a subscription on the spot.

We sampled the lavender lemonade, chocolate and lavender scones, and lavender cookies. You can order culinary lavender from Willow Pond Farm. There were about a dozen vendors offering a variety of products such as soaps, lotions, garden crafts, pottery, jewelry, French linens, teapots and accoutrements, and food. This year there were several free “cooking with lavender” sessions as well as several fee-based workshops on a variety of topics—nature leaf painting, making herbal teas, photographing your garden, making herbal cordials, and making natural dyes ($15 each). There is a “make your own lavender wand” craft session for $7.50. Willow Pond Farm also sells a variety of lavender and herb plants. And for just $5, you can cut your own lavender straight from the field!

Debbie’s husband Bill did a search on the Web to see where we were and discovered that there was a (much larger than the one we went to) Blanco Lavender Festival taking place at the same time in Blanco, Texas. Blanco is about 45 minutes from their home in San Antonio. There are eight lavender farms on the Blanco Lavender Festival tour. Three guesses where I’ll be next June!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





And now, back to those flowers…

25 05 2008

You should have known I wouldn’t stray too far away from the garden this time of the year, shouldn’t you?

Below: Rock Penstemon, Campanula ‘Wedding Bells’, Yellow Yarrow, Hot Pink Ice Plant, Rose Campion ‘Angel’s Blush’ (in bloom and foliage only photos), coral-colored geraniums, unknown Allium (I think), Lamb’s Ear and Johnny-Jump-ups, and a Niobe clematis in Regina’s garden.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved. www.cindydyer.com/GardenPhotos