Our story - Part II June 30 2014
One day we found this picturesque piece of land right in the heart of Ontario wine country. It was much bigger than what we were looking for, but love at the first sight! A nature painted canvas come to life with its rolling terrain, gentle creek running through, bridge encapsulated with tress and the green forest in the background.
Sadly the farm was quickly coming undone, the old wooden barn that was once proud & beautiful centre of the property was falling apart, metal sheeting blown away, stacks of hay falling down from the attic, cattle stalls deserted & rusted, outside big concrete silos piercing the skies. We had lots of work to do but we were ready to reinvent it!
Going to the farm became our ‘recreation’, it left us exhausted with a sweet feeling of accomplishment every time we came back home. We knew it was critical to find the best plants and when we did we quickly placed our order. Spring came and the plants arrived at the border, but customs proved to be no easy exercise. We knew our plants couldn’t survive another day in boxes, so we spent the day filling forms, explaining to border agents what lavender is (nothing to do with pot) and pleading for same day clearance. Finally, they obliged as the border agent called across the waiting room: “Lavender Lady, your plants are ready!” Next step, planting!
We bought a brand new tractor with a bank loan, ploughed the land and got it ready for planting long straight rows with engineering precision. We learned our first lesson quickly, when we realized that lavender needs to be planted higher, on little hills to help with drainage. After a few days of planting, or should I say crawling, our last seedling was in the ground. Exhausted, we felt we did our part and naively thought from here it was up to the lavender plants to grow & bloom by themselves!
Excited to learn more about this fragrant plant we went to Provence to visit Salt, a little town called the ‘lavender capital of the world’. The trip was insightful, some fields were beautifully groomed, some full of grass, but we walked away educated students of lavender. We were excited to call home and hear about how our young plants were growing; then we heard “You must come home NOW!” A visit to the fields proved to be exciting in all the wrong ways! From a distance as they drove towards the fields, all they saw was a blanket of green! Wow, lavender grows sooo fast! Or so they thought! Coming closer, the excitement subsided at the realization that most of the green was weeds that had grown at an exponential rate, and lavender…..nowhere to be seen!
We hurried back home, all memories of sipping good French wine quickly faded when we realized what happened to our fields. The weeds were up to our waist and no lavender in sight. That particular June was very rainy, the moisture and our freshly ploughed land encouraged the weeds to flourish. We weren't about to give up, so we put on our high boots, took long poles into our hand and bravely stepped into a meter high sea of weeds. We pushed back and forth following our memory of our rows, and right down next to the ground we could see little lavender plants hidden, shy & scared to grow.
We spent the rest of the summer clearing the fields of weeds and realizing that we lost lots of plants, but also had lots that were alive and growing! There was still lots of work ahead but we learned many valuable lessons that year and within next two seasons were able to create beautiful rows of lavender.
All the hard work rewarded with gorgeous pictures of lavender in full bloom and ready to be shared with all the people that appreciate lavender as much as we do!