Lovely lavender

16 Jun

I recently traveled to Vancouver Island, BC, and one of the ‘attractions’ that I was curious about was visiting a lavender farm.  In my mind I could imagine fields of lavender, quiet two-story houses with white shingles and white picket fencing, and the scent of lavender washing over me, mingling with the crisp, cool, salty scent of seawater from the nearby ocean.

My imagination is usually far, far better than reality I’m afraid!  Our first lavender-related stop was the beautiful Butchart Gardens just outside of Victoria.  I haven’t been here since I was very young, and although the cost of admission seemed really expensive ($27 per person) it was still a thoroughly enjoyable half-day, wandering through the seemingly endless paths lined with tulips, blue poppies, and flowering bushes.  While in their gift shop, I picked up a package of rose tea (no doubt I’ll do a review in posts to come) and a little jar of lavender jelly.  (Not unlike my jar of rose jam, waiting at home for me!)

Lavender jam and rose tea

Our next lavender-related destination wasn’t too far out of our way as we drove from Victoria to Nanaimo.  This was where my imagination was set, and unfortunately I was disappointed.  If I had been smarter, I would have realized that at the end of May, even in warmer-weather Vancouver Island – the lavender wouldn’t be in bloom yet!   It looks as though ‘lavender season’ starts in July, and their greenhouse is open on weekends – something I should have read about sooner!  It did look like it would be an interesting place in season, but we didn’t stop.  😦

This was Happy Valley Lavender Farm– if you’ve been there, can you share with me what I missed in the comments below?

So, after that we headed north up the island, and checked out Damali Lavender Farm (Winery & B&B) instead.  This was a little more of what I had imagined, and by now I had realized that expecting flowing fields of lavender was a bit premature, so my expectations were a bit more realistic.  There were fields for lavender as well as grapes, and a little gift shop filled with bath products, dried lavender, essential oils, and edible products.  The scent of lavender was wonderful, though I found that with the strong scent in the room, I couldn’t smell the individual scent of the products themselves.  I picked up a few things, including some culinary lavender for recipes, and we headed on our way.

Culinary lavender and new balls of wool!

The best thing?  Driving down the coastal highways of the beautiful Vancouver island, swelling with it’s lush greenery, crisp waters and towering mountains, our car was filled with the light, calming scent of lavender!

Lavender syrup too! (With more wool!)

Next up, time to try some interesting recipes!

Want to visit the places I’ve mentioned?  Just click the links to be transported to their websites!

In the meantime, do you have any lavender recipes to share?  Let me know in the comments below with a recipe or a link to a great recipe site!

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Posted by on June 16, 2011 in Out of town - BC, Treats


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