|Lavender! And Mount Arthur.|
There is a brief three or four week window of opportunity to see the lavender in full bloom at the Bridestowe Lavender Farm in North-Eastern Tasmania, so if you happen to be in the vicinity in January, rush in to grab an eyeful. A large lavender estate in full bloom, its curved rows disappearing over the hillsides, is a sight not to be missed.
|Your blogger inspects the lavender|
On my recent visit in early January, the first rows were already being harvested by a big red methodical machine, chugging along the rows and stripping the heads off the beautiful purple plants.
Its catch is then stuffed into canisters and lowered into stills in a distillery, where the rush of hot water releases sense-clogging wafts of precious lavender oil. The flower heads not crushed for their oil are dried for dried flower and culinary lavender.
|Curved rows as far as you can see|
|Giant oak: planted 1831|
No irrigation is used at Bridestowe, where the estate relies on natural rainfall. Flowering commences in December, and harvesting goes on for three weeks in January. In March the plants are aggressively trimmed to stimulate new growth. 2,500 kg of “wet flower” produces approximately 250 kg of dried flowers. That’s a lot of lavender.
The Estate is open to visitors all year round, and informative signs encourage your interest in the fields in all seasons. But who are they kidding? The time of full purple bloom, with the heady lavender oil soaking the air, is far and away the best. Although you can get a cone of lavender ice-cream at any time, which is some recompense if you miss the purple fields.
|"Bees at work"|
Information from the Bridestowe Lavender Estate information sheet.