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Visit The Lavender Garden on Saturday

 By Bob Wingate 

When Rita Rodelli read an intriguing article in Better Homes & Garden magazine about harvesting a lavender garden in the spring of 2004, she never dreamed that others would be writing about her own garden ten years later, or that she would be planning public events at her own farm. The magazine story featured the Jardin de Soleil (translated “Garden in the Sun”) in Sequim, Washington.

Rita was so taken by this article that she immediately began doing her own research into the topic. She studied various aspects of growing lavender, including the proper pH content of the soil, physical and emotional benefits of the plant, and personal home products derived from it. It was during a discussion with her father that she shared this newfound interest, and he secretly tilled a patch of soil on his property to make room for her to grow her first 100 lavender plants.

Lavender, along with roses, is one of the few plants that keeps its color and scent when it dries, so its stems are great for floral arrangements for home or special occasions. These arrangements usually include 150 to 200 dried lavender stems. Fresh lavender can be used for wedding tosses (as an alternative to bird seed) and for lavender wands. It can be also be made into sachets, or bags of flower buds, which can provide a wonderfully fresh and fragrant aroma to linen closets, clothing drawers, and pillow cases, as well as possibly a deterrent to moths and other insects. These sachéts normally contain about a half cup of lavender buds. Each bush grows about 1,000 stems, and each stem contains multiple flower buds.

Rita has found her own lavender farm to be a work in progress over the last decade. She has built a Mediterranean garden, along with a rustic pavilion and pergola, to accentuate her crop of over 300 lavender bushes.

She has developed her own line of lavender products, and has sold them publicly at farmers’ markets since 2007.

Conversations with a friend and fellow entrepreneur Cherrathee Hager have led to ideas of making The Lavender Garden into a public gathering place for meetings and events. Plans are to open the garden up for weddings, garden clubs, photo shoots, artist/painter groups, and other special events, as well as possible small retreats and conferences.

The first annual event, The Lavender Garden Field Day, will be held this Saturday, June 13 from 1-5 pm. Vendors and artists/photographers can RSVP Rita or Cherrathee to obtain a booth at the event. It will be FREE and open to the public. Available at the event will be bath & body lavender products, lavender plant sachéts, and drinks such as lavender lemonade and blueberry/lavender water. Families are welcome and there will be cornhole and other games for adults or children.

For more information concerning the Field Day at The Lavender Garden, please contact owner Rita Rodelli at 704-857-3220 or Event Coordinator Cherrathee Hager at 704-490-2001.

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