Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sequim Lavender Festival

When I started planning our trip to Seattle and Victoria, British Columbia I realized Sequim wasn't that far from either location. We decided to add on a weekend stay during the lavender festival before taking the ferry across to Victoria.   

Loving all things lavender, I was so excited to be introduced to Sequim by our local
 lavender farmer. 
She had discovered Sequim when her son was stationed at the Navy base on
 Whidbey Island, WA. 
She even ordered  the 'Grosso' variety of lavender plants from one of the farms and had them shipped to Oklahoma.  

 She now has over an acre planted from those original plants.   Her pretty farm and cottage shop is only open for special events and weddings now, but in previous years she has taught seminars about growing lavender
 and held craft classes for groups.     
  Click the link to read more about her farm outside of Oklahoma City. 

Sequim is one of the sunniest places in Washington state.  I've always thought of  the Pacific Northwest as cool, wet and green, however Sequim is in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains.  They receive the same rainfall amounts as Los Angeles...who knew? The climate makes it the perfect for
 growing lavender.

Sequim is also considered the lavender capitol of North America and I quickly fell in love with this small town!  

Downtown by the high school they close the street and it's lined with vendor tents, food and local entertainment.

We arrived just as the Lavender Queen and her court were singing on the main stage. 
There were times I felt we were visiting a time gone by,  like visiting Mayberry with Andy and Aunt Bea!     

My hubbie even got his picture with the official mascot of the festival! 
We spent the first morning downtown and then headed out to visit the farms over the next two days.  

There were ten farms on the official tour and shuttles were available to take visitors from downtown to each of the farms. Several farms are not on the official tour and charge a small fee but most of the farms are free to visit.  All the farms have craft vendors, food tents and live musical performances.  The music ranged from a classical orchestra to a blue grass band.  Each farm had a farm shop that sold their oils and lavender products.   The owners were on hand to talk about their farms, practices or to even scoop up some of their homemade lavender ice cream for visitors!

Le Jardin du Soliel had wonderful fields of 'Grosso' lavender along with several other varieties.   'Grosso' produces the best oils and strongest fragrances.   
U-cut lavender 
was only $12 for three generous bundles!  What a treat it was to cut lavender to 
my heart's content!

 (Olympic Lavender Farm)

Lavender lovers like me owe it to themselves to schedule a trip to this wonderful festival.    The Olympic National Park and the ferry
to Victoria, British Columbia 
are just minutes from 

Each evening we returned to the cottage to watch the hummingbirds, otters and eagles from the deck until the sun went down.

 We enjoyed the most glorious sunsets and the sunrises were spectacular too!  

Next post:

George Washington Inn and Lavender Farm


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Back from Vacations

I've been on a long blog break...much too long.   I didn't intend it to last for months but family, work and summer
vacations took priority.  

We had been dreaming of going back to Seattle and Victoria, British Columbia for several years.  The weather there is a welcome break from our hot Oklahoma summers, so when I discovered there was an  annual lavender festival in Sequim, Washington we decided this was the year to go.

We flew into Seattle then visited Pikes Market, had lunch and did some shopping before heading to the Olympic Peninsula to Sequim.   I couldn't resist purchasing a gorgeous bouquet to enjoy from the market.  The flower selection is overwhelming and the prices unbelievable!    We also purchased some fresh fish and prawns that they packed on ice for our afternoon drive. 

    Pikes Market is amazing and what a joy it must 
be to shop there every week!

We decided to drive the entire way to Sequim instead of taking the ferry...we soon realized that the ferry would have been the fastest way to get there, but we wanted to explore the area and go through Tacoma and cross the
 Hood Canal Bridge.   

The little waterfront cottage we had rented in Sequim was perfect and we couldn't have been more pleased as the view was incredible!

My favorite room in the cottage was the sunroom!
Complete with a birder's field guide
and binoculars it was the perfect space to hang out. 

   My bouquet of flowers from Pikes Market was the perfect accessory!

We were surrounded by wildlife and two bald eagles are permanent residents on the property.  
What a joy it was to watch them fish in the evenings and early in the morning.

To be continued....

Monday, June 8, 2015

First Lilies

The first lilies in my garden bloomed this weekend. The  Stargazer bloomed a little early but that's okay with me.    I'm sure all the rain and cool weather
 has plants confused as to what season it is, but I'm always 
excited to see the first lilies.  

I really think Stargazer lilies are my favorite flower...that is if I HAD to pick just one.   
I'm so glad I can have several favorites because my love of flowers goes back to my earliest memories as a child.

I was blessed to live in Hawaii and completed kindergarten through third grade there.   We were always surrounded by flowers.   I remember making leis out of plumeria  flowers that grew in our front yard.   They smelled wonderful and were easy to thread because of the way the flower petals join leaving a small round hole.

Orchids were easy to thread too and we usually purchased these leis since we didn't have orchids 
growing in our yard. 

I grew up in such floral abundant places like Florida, California, Hawaii and the Philippines.  I have to work a little harder to enjoy flowers here in Oklahoma but I so enjoy being surrounded by blooms in the garden 
and it's always worth the effort.

I had a great -aunt who was the President of the Pensacola Garden Society back in the 1960's.  She was born with a green thumb and had a wonderful greenhouse.  I was always a little afraid of stumbling upon a snake in there but I so enjoyed my childhood visits to her greenhouse!  
She also instilled in me a love of 
flowers and gardening. 

Flowers make me smile and remind me of the 
beautiful places I've been and those I've spent time 
with in the garden.  

We are looking forward to another visit to Butchart Gardens for our anniversary next month.  
I'm counting the days!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Rain and Monarchs

More rain is in our forecast for this holiday
 weekend  and the lake is full.   
Only a month ago it was 12 feet below normal levels!

My garden is definitely green but
 a few plants have gotten too 
much water and aren't growing as well.

Yesterday I took this picture of my oakleaf hydrangea in the rain.  Even though the blooms are large they 
do hold up well when wet.

This weekend I'm hoping to get some more planting and mulching done before the heat finally does arrive. 
  I also need to clean and decorate 
my front porch too.

This was our porch a few years ago decorated for the 4th of July.   
I like to  decorate it with our flag 
and buntings for Memorial Day too.   

Today the sun came out and the privet in our garden was full of bees and American Painted Ladies but I also counted six Monarchs flying about and enjoying the multitude of white fragrant blooms. 

Such a joy to see them throughout the garden and then going back and forth to the 
privet blooms. 

I'm so thankful that my butterfly garden is doing it's job and I'm hoping that the milkweeds I've planted will help them on their migration.   

Crossing my fingers that we don't get rained out the entire weekend so I can
 finish planting a few more annuals. 

Have a wonderful weekend and  
safe travels if you are on the road! 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

May Flowers

All the rain has just been wonderful for the landscape.  We have had twice the normal amount of rainfall for this time of year and the Lake Hefner is nearing normal levels again.

We just got home from a trip and this morning I took a garden walk to see what was blooming in the garden.

I love these oakleaf hydrangeas, so easy to grow and they bloom every year no matter how cold and snowy 
our winter has been.
I wish I had planted more years ago, but so happy to have a mature shrub to enjoy now.

The privet is full of bees and American Painted Lady butterflies.  I love how they smell and how pretty they are in full bloom.   I can always count on them to be full of 
painted ladies this time of year. 

Window boxes on the shady side of the house are blooming nicely but still have lots of growing to do.

Always fun to go on a trip but I love returning home
 to my garden.