“So, how’s the lavender?”
I'm never sure if people really want to know the answer. Is that a question like, "What's up?" or "How's it going?" I don't know, but I always answer.
This time of year my reply is usually something like, “Well…it’s just there…waiting for spring.”
And that’s just what it’s doing. Waiting. I always find it so surprising how resilient the lavender is. It looks like a somewhat dry, closely pruned shrub in the winter. Dormant.
But just as it starts warming up, new leaves appear on the plants, and new growth soon follows. Plants that I suspected were dead, rally, turn green, and send out lovely lavender stalks as we move into summer.
I admit I was worried when the ice coated the lavender plants so thick it obscured their shape.
And I was mildly concerned when the snow covered the plants not once, but twice this year. I don’t take any extra precautions like lavender farms to the north, like mulching, or using floating row covers. Our weather just doesn’t get that bad in Oklahoma. And the soil where I live is so sandy that winter moisture is always welcome.
"Why did you decide to plant lavender?”
When I planted my first 500 lavender plugs in the early spring of 2007 I didn’t know what to expect, nor did I really know what I was doing. But I was intrigued by the idea of growing something like lavender. I loved the smell of it. I loved the look of it. I liked the idea of a little lavender farm. I envisioned a beautiful little field of purple swaying in the hot, Oklahoma breeze, with sunflowers and zinnias in the background.
I could see it in my mind so perfectly. And, having moved around with the military all of my life, first as an Army brat, then as an Army spouse, I guess I literally wanted to put down some sort of "roots."
Never mind that I’d never grown lavender before. I knew I liked it. A lot. So I read, and I researched, and I screwed up the courage to e-mail a few actual lavender farms. The lavender growing community is a very gracious one. In general everyone responded to my queries, but especially Chris and Denise at Clear Creek Lavender, which is east of Tulsa. They both offered great advice about suppliers, and drip irrigation, and various other resources. And they didn’t couch the fact that being a lavender farmer is hard work.
"How do you grow lavender in southwest Oklahoma?”