“Here’s your sweet lavender
sixteen sprigs a penny
that you’ll find my ladies
will smell as sweet as any.”
Lavender Seller’s Cry – London England 1900
Located deep in the high desert off of highway A-12, just 20 minutes North of the city of Mt. Shasta, lies a jewel glittering beneath the sun. The Mt. Shasta Lavender Farm sprawls over a sunny slope of land at 35oo feet elevation. Visitors to the farm make their way up a long gravel driveway lined with juniper trees, and past a small vineyard where the heady smell of lavender and the drone of thousands of honey bees greet them. Mt. Shasta stretches into the sky, a magnificent backdrop to the rows of English and French lavender.
Lavender has long been used as a herbel remedy to remove nervous tension, facilitate sleep, relieve pain, disinfect scalp and skin, enhance blood circulation and treat respiratory problems. Used in potpourris and perfume, lavender oil is extracted from the flowers of the plant. Aromatherapy utilizes the blend of lavender oil with other essential oils such as cedarwood, pine, clary sage, geranium, and nutmeg.
But it was relaxation and fun we were looking for when my sister, niece, husband, and I traveled to the Mt. Shasta Lavender Farm last week. For only three dollars, we picked a fat handful of 100 stems to take home and dry. A bubbling fountain gave us the opportunity to watch dozens of bees drinking their fill of the cool water.
Inside the shop (which is actually the owners’ home when the farm is closed) we enjoyed a refreshing, complimentary glass of lavender lemonade, and could not resist buying a packet of lavender butter cookies whose sweet taste literally melted over our tongues. The gift shop offers a variety of items for sale including soap, artwork, lavender wands, essential oil, and garden hats.
Walking among the rows of lavender, stooping now and then to snip a few stems, visitors inhale the pungent fragrance of the plants and find themselves transfixed by Mt. Shasta’s peak. Small groups stroll through the lavender maze or pause to admire the view. Far from the bustle of any city, the farm serves as a moment of startling beauty and relaxation.
We filled our baskets and our senses with the sweetness of lavender and departed the farm with a bit of reluctance, rumbling down the gravel drive with the mountain at our backs.
**All photos by Wendy Robards copyright 2009