Lavender Time

This is the time of year when lavender bloom is peaking. I’m not speaking of French lavender, where I caught a butterfly perching at least a month ago. I have two of those bushes that seem to be always blooming, and quickly grow to a huge size because there never seems to be a post-bloom time to cut them back.

But rather, English lavender.

At church, close to my favorite rose, these two colors of lavender complement the mallow that waves over them.

And not too far away the Matanzas Creek Winery has acres of lavender in bloom right now. Many times I’ve taken friends to get a whiff and a feast for the eyes in the mornings of late June. I didn’t take this picture, though.

Pippin  took many pictures of lavender at a farm we encountered in the Cotswolds of England at springtime several years ago. I’m not showing you her most picturesque shots, in case she wants to use them commercially sometime.

This farm grew so many varieties of lavender, and they had identifying markers at the end of each row, so that I could write the following journal entry:

On our way back to Snowshill we find the lavender farm Jacki told us not to miss. Fatigue has me waiting in the car for my daughter to take a picture, but she comes back to get me—she knows I will want to experience this place, and she’s right. What a palette of color and textures; her photos come out looking like Monet paintings. Twickle Purple, Alba, Dutch, Nana Alba, Hidcote and Peter Pan are some of the varieties I note in my book, as we stroll on wide grass paths among the neat rows spreading out of sight for many acres. There don’t seem to be any other people around; it’s probably suppertime for most folks–or later. Some of the plants are bushy and covered with blooms, others more dainty, with the flowers just coming on. The colors range from deep cobalt through lighter blue and white. When you throw in the lavender smell, it all makes for a sensual feast.

Lavender gives such a lot of pleasure over a long season, is unthirsty and very easy to care for. After the bloom, it’s short work to prune the bushes back, and then there’s no fuss until the next spring, when I can sit on the patio and watch the bees feeding off my own lavender. Weeks ago there were bushes in bloom in our area, but I kept watching in vain: the bees had not deemed mine ready yet. But today was the day! Just this morning there they were, a dozen of them buzzing around. It takes almost more patience than I have, to get a picture like this in a garden where the breeze is nearly constant. But I did it! So I have something to give today.

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