As an avid gardener and long-time Essex County, NJ Master Gardener I thought I knew pretty much everything there is to know about lavender. After all, I grow lovely large plants here in New Jersey and I know how to prep/use lavender in bouquets and sachets. Well guess what? When we were in Maui my husband Mike and I visited a lavender farm located 4,000 feet up on Haleakala Crater. In that Mediterranean-like climate the folks at Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm grow 45 different kinds of lavender! That’s 55,000 or so individual plants!! And they taught me a thing or three more about lavender.
The well-tended lavender fields of Ali’i Kula stretch for acres on the slanted hillside. The bees rumble and bumble from plant to plant and flower stem to flower stem. The view is, well, take a look:
Each garden has a special statue, bench, or gazebo tucked in among the lavender. The color is fabulous and the scent is too. And the view? … I can’t imagine a more beautiful place to get married.
We took a leisurely walking tour of the grounds with a knowledgable guide. Did you know that the Stoechas (Spanish lavender) are spicy like pepper and best used in savory cooking (steak anyone?). You just need to know that a small amount added to a recipe goes a looong way flavor-wise. Or that the Angustifolias (e.g., Hidcote, Munstead, Rosea) add just the right delicate flavor so popular in sweet treats.
As we walked the acres we realized that the farm is a great location for singles looking for quiet time and great views and vistas, couples looking for a comfy place to sit and talk quietly, and families with kids who can pick up a discovery map in the Farm’s gift shop, then fan out across the hills to discover the hidden “treasures” the Farm has to offer.
The Farm is about more than lavender too. I am a succulent aficionado and the Farm has more varieties arranged in artful containers and planting beds than I’ve every seen anywhere else. The color combinations and textures. Oh heck! Take a look:
I heard that the baked goods offered in the Gift Shop were good. I’m a scone expert and the Farm’s lavender scones are incredibly tasty. I purchased a scone mix that I brought home too. The lavender soaps, lotions and candles are superbly scented. If you can’t get to Maui, check out the Farm’s website.
If you drive to the Farm, make sure you leave time to visit the Kula Botanical Gardens next door!