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Lavender Festival

by gardengirl

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Lavender buds
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Earlier this summer, my sister and I took my girls to Wimberley, TX for the annual lavender festival.

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I wasn't quite sure what to expect when we set out on our adventure. Maybe fields of blooms on blue gray plants like in the pictures from France? Unfortunately, the 5 year drought we have experienced has really taken its toll on these farms. So, rather than fields, we had sparse rows of lavender plants to view. Wimberley Lavender Farm alone lost 3000 plants but they are replanting 250 plants each Spring until they get back to about 2000 plants. What struck me was the hard grit and determination it takes to try to cultivate this driest of pockets of the Texas Hill Country.  

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Several varieties of lavender are grown at the farms - Goodwin Creek, Hidecote, Provence, Grosso and Sweet. However, the Provence variety is the most widely cultivated here. Munstead has gray green leaves with dark purple flowers and grows to about 24 inches in diameter. Goodwin Creek is in my garden. It has silver gray leaves with dark purple blooms and has a 2-4 foot spread. Goodwin Creek makes a great potted plant if you don't have room in the garden. Provence Lavender has green grey leaves and light purple blooms. It has a spread of 2-4 feet and is the most popular for culinary adventures.

If you don't have space for a field of it, lavender makes a terrific addition to any garden. It's edible, fragrant and drought tolerant. Some of the edibles at the festival made with lavender included lavender wine, lavender lemonade (my favorite) and chocolate lavender ice cream (my girls favorite.) Non edibles included hand sanitizer and bug spray. 

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The wildflowers were still spectacular. I snapped a shot of a few. 

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I enjoyed my lemonade so much I looked up a recipe from Cooking Light, June 2000. This one is flavored by the leaves rather than the buds.

  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh lavender leaves
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons) 
  • Lavender stems

Preparation

  1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Combine the boiling water and lavender in a medium bowl; cover and steep 30 minutes. Strain the lavender mixture through a fine sieve into a bowl; discard lavender leaves.
  2. Combine 3 cups water and sugar in saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, and cook 1 minute or until sugar is dissolved. Combine lavender water, sugar syrup, and lemon juice in a pitcher. Cover and chill. Serve over ice. Garnish lemonade with lavender stems, if desired.

 

If you are curious about Lavender and want to know more, check out the Lavender page!

Tags

lavender

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