At this time of the year I often visit one of my favourite places, the Luberon in Provence, particularly around the area of Mont Ventoux where the lavender fields have been captured by artists and photographers from the world over. As the sun shone this week I felt a strange yearning to immerse myself in the colour, texture and scent and to enjoy the lavender at it’s peak…
… then I remembered that I actually live a stone’s throw from Jersey’s own lavender farm! Grabbing my camera, off we went without a moment’s hesitation and my yearning was greatly satisfied!
The Lavender Farm is set in nine acres with fields of lavender plants standing neatly in rows like an army on the march.
Surrounded by cypress trees the beautiful gardens are a peaceful, serene place to lose yourself for a few hours. With a huge variety of plants, shrubs and trees dating back a hundred years there is plenty to see and look at.
A family business now run by Alistair Christie whose parents started the Lavender Farm in the early eighties. The area around the St Brelade’s Farm has the perfect soil conditions for growing lavender plants, sandy soil with good drainage and with the mild climate that Jersey is known for all add up to a winning success.
Since the first harvest in 1986 the farm has grown steadily, new varieties of lavender have been introduced and the summer months see visitors from all over the world coming to enjoy the sights and smells of the gorgeous lavender plants as well as learn all about the process of extracting the essential oils that go to make up their products.
Much thought has gone into the planting with many species grown to attract the bees which in turn pollinate the lavender. The striking Echium Pininana, “Pride of Tenerife” that pops up in gardens all over Jersey at this time of the year and which grows to over four metres high with a mass of blue flowers certainly earns it’s keep.
At 11.30 am and 3.00 pm daily there is a talk in the distillery, where you can understand more about the method for extracting the essential oils from the varieties of Lavandula angustifolia. Rosemary, eucalyptus, bay laurel and cypress are also grown and distilled on the farm and their oils extracted in the same way.
Continue through the distillery and into the bottling room where you can find out more about how they develop the range of Lavender products that are for sale in the shop.
There is plenty to see and do and on a sunny day a perfect place to spend a summer’s day. Under the blue skies and in the heat of the late morning sun, the cockerels scratched in the dry earth and the dogs lazed on the grass. Children ran around following a discovery trail as parents soaked up the tranquil setting.
In need of some sustenance or an ice cream? That’s taken care of, with a popular cafe on site. Sprigs Café is well known locally for it’s delicious food and with the shop next door selling a huge variety of lavender products, plenty of ideas for presents to take home.
“As I wander around the scent hangs in the warm air and if I close my eyes I’m transported right back to the fields of Provence.”
Visit the Jersey Lavender Farm,
Rue du Pont Marquet,
St Brelade, Jersey, JE3 8DS
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm (12th April to 25th September)
Harvest Season: 7th June to 28th August