As you may have read here, in August we planted out a large portion of our back lawn with Lavender. Such a great decision and this summer we have really reaped the rewards of our odourous endeavour. It has been beautiful wading through the long stems of flowers with wafts of lavender pervading through the summer air. The greatest part of the Lavender Farm has to be all the Bees we have been attracting into the garden. They seem to be really enjoying the flowers and the backyard is literally abuzz with life. Not only is their presence lovely for us to enjoy but whilst here they will hopefully nip around all the surrounding fruit trees to assist with pollination of the flowers helping in fruit set of the trees.
In the centre of the Lavender we have installed a terrecotta water Bird Bath which has also seen a lot of action from the local birdlife. We have at times had up to 10 birds on a one time all jostling for a dip on a hot day. Even the bees (and wasps unfortunately) have been sitting at the water's edge for a drink after buzzing amongst the Lavender. Good times.
Throughout the summer we have been intermittently harvesting bunches of flower stems and have saved the buds for use in various ways. My wife, Jennifer, has been experimenting with making her own soaps with Lavender buds, Shea butter, Essential oils and various other concoctions.
In the future i am hoping to look into distilling our Lavender into our own essential oil which would be amazing. I could either buy a still which are about $500 like these which seems a large investment or else i may ask around at a few Lavender farms around Auckland to see if i could process a batch though one of them.
This leads me on to our latest expansion. So we purchased another 35 Grosso plants from our supplier "Pocket Mouse" on trademe and have extended out the other third of the previous lawn to make the whole back lawn now all rows of Lavender. This time i laid the black weed mat down first and pinned it down into place. Next i measured out with string, straight lines and placed out the Lavenders to match the existing plants' layout. I then cut holes in the mat and planted the little Lavs in mounds with a porous potting mix to help with drainage. Now they are in, they look really good and by next year they shouldn't be too far behind the others. I just now need to source some more wood chips to mulch over the top of the mat and around the plants to match the other side. This also helps to stop weeds popping through and aids water retention during summer.
Anyway i hope this could inspire some of you to make your own waste of space of a lawn into a productive, re-energised and more organic, natural space.