Tues. May 5, 2015 1:00 pm. Pelindaba Lavender Farm
Hostesses: Vonnie Harold and Dot Vandaveer Attendance: 8
Theme: Beautiful light yellow osteospermums and yellow frosted cupcakes with handmade flowers. Lots of work to transport goodies, tea, and coffee to the lavender farm. Thank you, Vonnie and Dot.
The meeting was called to order by President Marguerite Bennett under an outdoor tent with the wind blowing and the rain coming.
The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as read.
Treasurer Vonnie Harold reported that the account earned $.06 interest, The Flower Power fundraiser earned $212.00. The excursion to La Conner for Tea earned $141.11. The Balance in the account: $2351.94.
*San Juan Island Garden Tour Please sign up to volunteer to help.
Speaker: Stephen Robbins, owner of Pelindaba Lavender Farm (Pelindaba: Place of Great Gatherings)
Stephen gave an interesting and informative talk about his evolving dream and the establishment of the lavender farm. He bought the farm in the mid 1980s and started it in 1997 as an Open Space Preservation project. It must make income to pay the property taxes. He had 4 preliminary requirements: 1. He wanted to grow something no one else on the island was growing 2. The crop couldn’t need much water 3. The crop shouldn’t require much fertilizer 4. Lots of products could be developed from the crop.
The first lavender plants were planted in 1999. Although there are over 400 varieties of lavender, the farm grows three main varieties: Provence, Grosso, and Spanish Lavender. People like Spanish lavender for landscaping purposes. It has the rabbit ears. It will rebloom if it is deadheaded. It doesn’t have much essential oil. About 70% of the lavender grown in France is Grosso. Grosso is dark purple and it has a stronger fragrance, flavor, and good essential oil. Provence is a light purple with a light fragrance. Lavender needs lots of sunshine and good drainage. It can withstand sub zero temperatures for a limited time. Lavender is an antiseptic, an anesthetic, and a sedative. Using trial and error, Pelindaba Lavender Farm has found what works best here on San Juan Island. Prune aggressively in October. Failure to prune is detrimental. Pruning maintains the plant’s longevity. The lavender fields are organically certified fields. The lavender farm extracts the essential oil and the remaining water is sold as a lavender hydrosol. Many products have been developed at the farm from insect repellant to creams, cleaning products, and sachets.
We did not go on a tour because of the inclement weather but we had a thoroughly enjoyable time.