Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21, 2017 Lavender Update

The lady bugs are just now coming out in the lavender as well as the preying mantis.  The peaceful little bees are busy and every where.  They just move to the next plant when I cut the stems.  I love the bees.  Just like the different colors of lavender in our field, we also have several colors of butterflies flitting about.  A couple years ago, my older grandson and I found a snake hugging the drip irrigation.   I said "Yikes" (among a few other things I probably shouldn't have said, especially in front of an impressionable teenager) while my grandson named him Sam, gave me a demeaning look for what I said, whipped out his cell phone and Googled to see what kind of snake "Sam" was: "a common garden snake which are very beneficial to mankind".  He wasn't common to me:  he was (at least) a two-foot slithering split-tongued scary creature hiding in my field of lavender!  To make a long story longer, my grandson made up all these "what if" stories as we left "Sam the Beneficial Snake to all mankind" alone and exited the lavender field.  Those young people and their Googling fact checking:  it's a snake, for goodness sake!  And that's all I'm saying about the snake incident

We are currently harvesting all our Angustifolia (English) lavenders.  English lavenders are shorter stemmed than the Intermedias, have a wonderful fragrance and are usually considered cold hardier than the Intermedias (although our Intermedias have withstood some bone chilling weather and are starting to bloom with the hot summer sun).  We plan to start harvesting the Intermedias next week.

One of the most beautiful of the English lavenders (in my opinion) is Peter Pan.  Deep purple in color, they have a lovely fragrance and keep their exquisite deep color when dried.  Some people like to use them for borders and hedges.

'Peter Pan'

Still Waters Lavender is open Thursday through Saturday, 10a-4p.  We hope to see you and will make you kindly welcome.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

2017 July 15: The Bees Came

 What a difference a day makes!  Yesterday, I saw only a few bees in the lavender: this morning, when I walked through the lavender--'Miss Katherine' and 'Folgate' (both English lavenders)--the bees were in abundance.  The large lavenders (the intermedias) are still developing (no bees), but I harvested the 'Miss Katherine' and Gene hung it in the drying shed this morning; Monday morning, I'll harvest the 'Folgate'.  I love the bees and their humming.  For all my fretting, the bees came not too early and not too late, but just at the right time!
"The pedigree of honey...

...does not concern the bee...

A clover or a lavender--(I added the lavender part), any time,
to him...

is aristocracy." - Emily Dickenson

Bundle of cut  'Miss Katherine'
Oil from stems

My hands were sticky with the oil from the stems as I cut the 'Miss Katherine'.

I noticed quite a few bumblebees and butterflies this year.  I tried to take their photo but they were too busy for my foolishness.

Friday, July 14, 2017

2017 July 14 Lavender Field Update

I walked the lavender fields today.  Most of the lavender buds are either still closed and green or just starting to fill with oil or a few buds have color but most of the buds on the plants are still developing.

"Impress Purple"
 'Impress Purple' (Lavendula Intermedia) is a large lavender that has long stems and makes beautiful wands.  The buds are just starting to open and should be ready to harvest in about a week.  I would probably be harvesting but the bees are not in this lavender.  We have many of our lavenders in this stage:  just about ready to harvest but the bees haven't arrived---'Grosso', 'Gros Bleu', 'Edelweiss'---just to name a few.

"Miss Katherine'

'Miss Katherine' (Lavendula Angustifolia) is one of the English lavenders I use to cook desserts with.  (Please look in past blogs because I have put the recipe for the lavender shortbread cookies.)   It is pink, sweet tasting and we will be harvesting this week because the bees are in this lavender (which means to me that the oil is high).

'Folgate' (Lavendula Angustifolia) has bees, too.  We will be harvesting with the 'Miss Katherine'.  'Folgate' is used for my meat rubs (Please look in past blogs for the recipe).  I also just sprinkle it in other dishes just to give it a fresh flavoring.  Lavender is of the mint family so if you have a favorite recipe using mint, try substituting lavender.

Still Waters Lavender is open Thursday-Saturday, 10a-4p, for the months of July and August.  After August, the lavender will be drying in the drying shed, be made into oil, or put into handcrafted items.

We hope to see you and we make you kindly welcome.

Note to self:  do not walk through greenhouse.  Family of quail are at the end close to the house and it upsets the mom and dad when an alien gets too close to their babies.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

2017 Opening Day at Still Waters Lavender Farm

Today was the opening day for Still Waters Lavender in 2017.  What a day! 

We have bug books and bugs--lady bugs, humming bees and little mirrors.  The books are given to children to go out into the field and see if they can find the bugs while the parents go out into the field and see if they can find the lavender they like:  it's a win-win for family.  When the family comes into the gift shop, the children can choose one of the little bug/mirror magnets for their effort in seeking out those good little crawlies in the field.  

Products we offer are:
  • clothes hangers with pocket (lavender included)
  • chicken door stoppers with lavender fabric (full of lavender and flax seed)
  • OSU and UofO chicken door stoppers full of lavender and rice
  • neck wraps filled with lavender and flax seed
  • big big-eyed owl sachets full of lavender
  • extra large trivets (full of lavender and flax seed)
  • lavender scented and unscented 100% wool dryer balls
  • hardanger (Norwegian embroidery) sachet
  • little big-eyed owl sachets full of lavender
  • Large lavender-filled sachet pillow with pocket and pouch
  • travel sachet
  • scythe
  • rectangle sachet

  • Mason jar beeswax candle with lavender
  • lotion pump
  • foaming Soap
  • exquisite painted boxes
  • cards
  • bathing tea bags
  • marionberry preserves with lavender
  • pillows with sayings filled with lavender
  • honey with lavender
  • ice cream toppings:  lavender, orange and peppermint

  • doggone door stoppers
  • cozies
  • wyne bags
  • harvest aprons
  • table protector
  • china mugs
  • hydrosol
  • soap: goats milk lavender and rose, oats n' honey
  • body butter
  • and much more.......

After the farm closed this evening, I took an inventory of our lavender.  Our Intermedias--'Grosso', 'Gros Bleu', 'Edelweiss' (a white lavender), 'Super', 'Fragrant Memories' and many more are huge this year with long, long stems.  The buds are still developing.

'Grosso" is getting color.  It needs just a few more days to develop. 

Intermedia 'Grosso' grows very well in Central Oregon.  With its hedgehog shape and beautiful long stems and fragrant buds, it is one of the most favorite of lavenders.  I use this lavender for my sachets and making wands.  We will have u-pick as soon as this lavender develops its buds and the bees come and let us know this lavender is ready to be picked.

Chaytorae "Ana Louisa" would make a beautiful landscape plant.  Many have described it as being the color of sage.  We purchased this plant to see if it would grow in Central Oregon:  it does very well here!  It would blend in uniquely with other landscaping plants.  The stems are long and the flowers have a pleasant fragrance.  I have only a few of these plants but hope to have more when we propagate this fall.

Angustifolia (English Lavender) 'Miss Katherine' is a pink lavender.  I use it for cooking with--it has a wonderful sweet taste.  'Miss Katherine' is just about ready to harvest.  Again, I'm waiting for the bees to let me know when the essential oil is at its height.

The Oregon Lavender Association Farm Tour begins tomorrow.  We hope to see you and we will make you kindly welcome.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Oregon Lavender Association Farm Tour Comes to Still Waters Lavender

Still Waters Lavender is participating in two days of the Oregon Lavender Association Farm Tour: July 7-8 (Friday and Saturday), 2017.   We are also open on Thursday, July 6th.  The hours are from 10a-4p. Still Waters Lavender is open to the public on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, from 10a-4p all of July and August.

Thank you to those who came on July 1, last Saturday, to our lavender farm.  While the lavender is being harvested in the Willamette Valley, our lavender was not quite blooming but you were so fun to visit with and purchase some of our products (and the last of the lavender plants).  Since then, I have taken an inventory of the various lavender varieties we have in our field.  Much of 'Folgate' is harvested but there still is more blooming.  The 'Miss Katherine' is going to be harvested within the next couple days.  Gene hung the 'Folgate' in the drying shed.  We are pretty excited about this year's harvest because it looks as if it might be a bountiful crop.  And we have found that 'Folgate' and 'Miss Katherine' sometimes bloom all summer long.

I use both of these Angustifolias (English Lavenders) for cooking.  'Folgate' is a beautiful periwinkle color, mild and I use it on meat rubs and with vegetables and fruit.

 'Miss Katherine' is a soft pink color and I use it with desserts--scones, shortbread cookies, anything chocolate.  Lavender is from the mint family and so, lavender can be used in place of mint.  Chocolate and lavender blended together are a nonviolent tango on the taste buds.  The long-stemmed lavenders--'Grosso', 'Impress Purple' 'Gros Bleu', 'Edelweiss'--are just on the cusp of bursting into color.  There are 26 varieties of lavender out in the field and everyone of them has its own stage of development.  With this hot weather, Gene and I are hoping we will have color in the fields and be able to offer u-pick by the time of the Farm Tour.  Just a word of caution:  you will be sharing the field with bees and, while they are peaceful little creatures going about their daily chores, they sometimes can be a force to reckon with if you grab a handful of lavender and one of them is trapped in the maze of lavender stems.  You're likely to hear a very angry "buzzzzz" and then we'll hear an "Ouucch".    We love to go out into the field and hear the little buggers humming and see them busy at work.  They are nature's way of saying to Gene and I that it's time to harvest.

We have the little bug books for the young lavender lover.  I will say that I haven't seen too many lady bugs this year nor have I seen any preying mantis.  There are butterflies, however.  I wonder if the reason we have not seen any lady bugs or preying mantis is because we had so much snow and cold that they are just making sure that it's not going to freeze before they peek their heads out for the summer.

We have no plants for sale.  Almost all of them were sold at the springs shows.  However, in August, after the harvest, we will be propagating up a storm for next year.

The gift shop is being stocked with regular products--body cream, marionberry with lavender preserves, eye pillows and neck wraps--as well as with a few new products:  beeswax candles with lavender in Mason jars, soy wax melts, door stoppers.  We are in the process of putting insulation up but we hope you will overlook our construction and enjoy the products we have available.

The labyrinth is still a work in progress.  My daughter created a mosiac walkway and it was such an inspiration that I am hoping to create a mosiac pathway on the labyrinth.  I still walk it frequently and find it to be good for my psyche.

Well, I think I've covered it all:  lavender field, lavender plants, u-pick, labyrinth, date and hours of Still Waters Lavender Farm Tour and the gift shop.  We hope to see you and we make you kindly welcome.

Monday, May 29, 2017


Still Waters Lavender will be vendors at only two events in June.

June 3, 2017 (9a-2p)

Central Oregon Master Gardener Association

Incredible Edible Plant Sale
OSU/Deschutes County Extension Service
Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center
3800 SW Airport Way
Redmond, Oregon 97756
Parking Lot D

Central Oregon Master Gardener Association will be offering plants chosen to grow and thrive in Central Oregon, Garden Demonstrations, Mobile Plant Clinic, Used Garden Book Sale and a variety of Market Garden Vendors

June 24, 2017 (10a-5p)

June 25, 2017 (10a-4p)

Redmond Street Festival

Four blocks in 
Downtown Redmond 
on 6th Street 

This show caters to a variety of arts, crafts, antiques, food, beer-wine garden live entertainment with a section for commercial booths.  The booths will run down the center of the street leaving room on the sidewalks for store fronts to have sidewalk sales.

Please come visit our booth.  We make you kindly welcome!

The Beauty in Diversity

The rays of the setting sun were shining on the orchard one evening and I wanted to capture the beauty of the moment, so, I quickly grabbed my phone (camera) and took these photos.

Different varieties of fruit trees, mostly apple, a few pear and a couple prune trees, were being visited by a multitude of tiny flying creatures gathering their food.  They didn't pay me any heed as I took photos.  Everything was going about doing what they were created to do and didn't appear to be disrupted by my intrusion.  Nature is like that!

It is good to see the bees!  Did you know that the need for bees increased during times of war, especially World War II?  Honey sweetened a very bland diet during World War II rationing and beeswax was used for waterproofing tents and metal casings for bullets to lubricating mechanical parts.  It was even smoothed onto planes to help them cut through the air more efficiently ("Plan|bee", by Susan Brackney).

The setting sun on the fruit trees gives them an idyllic appearance (standing west looking east).

We also planted cold hardy, survival-of-the-fittest Canadian Chokecherries.  They are a beautiful, colorful tree whose flowers fill the air with the sweetest fragrance and leaves that turn a deep purple.  The tree was buzzing, even in the going down of the sun, with miniscule winged critters .  It was as if they, too, had had enough winter and wanted to stay out and enjoy this warm weather as long as they could.  Whether fruit tree or ornamental tree, they bring such delight to the heart and to the sight!

Listening to the hymn of the pollinators
2017 Canadian Chokecherry

2017 Canadian Chokecherry in bloom

Lavender, also, comes in different colors:  leaves as well as flowers, shapes, sizes and fragrances.  Still Waters Lavender has 26 varieties in its commercial field and I hope, this year, to show the differences in each variety.

May 2017 Lavendula x int. 'Fragrant Memories'

All year long, we would look out our kitchen window and notice one variety that didn't seem to go dormant but stayed green throughout the winter: that variety is Lavendula x intermedia"Fragrant Memories'.   'Fragrant Memories' is a year-round green bushy evergreen lavender with slender, upright stems and fragrant pale purple flowers in the summer.  We planted the row with 'Fragrant Memories' in 2013 and they are now about 3' across and about 2' tall (without stems).  About 50% died the first year and so we do not recommend this plant for Central Oregon because it is rated zone 6 and we fluctuate between zones 3-5; however, we are growing this variety out in our field and you may want to come out and see it for yourself.   It is such a treat to look out in the field and see this green, green lavender holding its own against Central Oregon elements.

May 2017 Lavendula x int. 'Impress Purple

I took photos of Lavendula x intermedia 'Impress Purple' growing next to the Lavendula x intermedia 'Fragrant Memories' and you, hopefully, can see the difference.  I do not take good photos so I hope this will suffice.  While the 'Fragrant Memories' stays green all year round, the 'Impress Purple" goes into its dormancy and is just now waking up.  In a few weeks, it will produce a beautiful dark wine-colored, long-stemmed, oil-enriched bud.  I use the 'Impress Purple' variety for my Provence Layered Wands because the stems are rugged and long.  The only drawback to using this variety for wandmaking is that my hands get sticky from the essential oils it produces.  They make beautiful finished wands that hold up to being gently rolled between the palms of hands as the essential oil is released from the encapsulated buds.   Most wands are made from Lavendula x intermedia 'Grosso'.  they also have long stems and a lovely fragrance.  When you visit Still Waters Lavender and the lavender is ready for harvest AND you should like to make a wand, you can have a choice of either variety, as long as it is still available.

There are many reasons why I love lavender, but one of the reasons at the top of my list is the diversity of this plant.  Whether used for landscaping, such as the 'Fragrant Memories' variety or for crafting with the 'Impress Purple' or the culinary lavenders which I'll get into as it flowers, each variety is beautiful in its own way.