Monday, May 29, 2017

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment