This month at the Dorset Lavender Farm Project we have been letting our Lavender harvest dry to be able to collect the grains. We’ve used the grains in our Lavender Bags for our next events, or selling to people wishing to do their own craft projects with them. We’ve been also collecting Lavender Seeds to grow our next batch of Own Seed Lavender pots. We’ve finally harvested our pumpkins and squash and some of our volunteers have crafted frighteningly funny Hallowe’en creations.
We have been weeding our Lavender beds in our barnyard and the nettles at the back of our cabin as well as maintaining the hedge at the front of our plot so our path and entrance aren’t encroached upon.
Although the temperature has been dropping wildlife sightings haven’t. We spotted a Kestrel recently and keep our resident Robins well catered for with shortbread biscuit crumbs!
We had a successful day out with our stall at Spetisbury Apple Day on the 5th October with a selection of Lavender varieties from our farm. Our newest variety ‘Little Lady’ proved popular due to its convenient smaller size for a pop of colour in people’s gardens. It was also a good chance to network and meet other local organisations and vendors such as wildlife rescues and craft stalls including Wicker weavers and ornate painted stones.
We had a great day out at Minterne Magna Gardens, where the autumnal colours were spectacular and a bakers dozen of volunteers enjoyed a delicious lunch inside the house.
We look forward into November when preparations for Christmas will begin including Thursday Morning Christmas Card Making Workshops.
Since the spring we’ve had two large batches of lavender plug plants come in which we’ve potted up and begun to integrate into our main stock for sale, including a new variety for us, Little Lady, a smaller growing lavender. The weather has been hard for our little plug plants; the heat has made watering them difficult but many have pulled through. We’ve been hard at work preparing for the two Open days which went tremendously well. The turn out has been amazing and both times has been a record in donations. Thank you to everyone who has come out to join us. Our stall at the Stock Gaylard Oak Fair was also a success, we enjoyed our spot on the fair’s Conservation Row, especially being next to the charity Butterfly Conservation with a common interest of wildlife friendly plants; Borage, Verbena Bonariensis, Buddleia and of course Lavender being some of the most attractive plants to pollinating insects.
We also enjoyed being at the Ideal Health exhibition at the Exchange in Sturminster Newton on Saturday 7th September where we sold Lavender bags and plants and had pieces from our Arts and Crafts workshop to display, as well as being available to talk about our ethos of a caring community for our volunteers, some of whom may have Learning Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions, or just choose to do volunteering work in the outdoors. Our next event will be Spetisbury Apple Day on the 5th October 11.30 a.m. – 4 p.m, Clapcott’s Farm, Spetisbury, DT11 9DF. We will have several varieties of Lavender for sale as well as other plants such as Mint and Tomatoes and wooden crafts including Bird Boxes and traditional gardening trugs.
At the Dorset Lavender Farm Project this month we’ve been doing a stock take of our lavender and reviewing the varieties we have in our barnyard. Once the 480 new plug plants were delivered our volunteers were hard at work selecting pots from storage that were suitable for the plants, and mixing the compost to the right composition for optimum growth.
On the day before Good Friday 18th April we had an Easter Coffee Morning, which our friends, family and supporters were invited to. For a donation we enjoyed refreshments, and books from our book stall were available, as well as lavender bags and honey for sale.
Looking forward, the Dorset Lavender Farm Project will be at the Shillingstone Steam Rally on Saturday and Sunday 18th and 19th of May. We will have lavender plants for sale, as well as lavender bags, wooden crafts such as bird boxes and candle holders and greetings cards featuring scenes from our farm. Also we have some excellent tomato and herb plants grown by Friends of DLFP. Events such as these are also a good opportunity to share and answer questions about the ethos of the Dorset Lavender Farm Project – do join us at the Steam Rally!
March marked the arrival of Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday or Mardy Tuesday to some, the festival of Mardi Gras to others. Pancake day was celebrated at the Dorset Lavender Farm Project with our community of volunteers. One string to the Dorset Lavender Farm Project’s bow that it is run as a Care Farm that supports adults with Learning Disabilities and Mental Health conditions through providing volunteering in a productive, natural environment. All volunteers enjoyed the pancakes.
March is also the time that the fields are renewed through mowing and ploughing, with our own classic Ferguson tractor. The Dorset Lavender Farm Project is wildlife friendly and uses organic gardening methods. We have a wildflower garden including borage, chamomile and marigolds, which attracts the bees and local butterflies, which then helps pollinate the Lavender and, in the bee’s case, produces very unique honey.
The Dorset Lavender Farm Project has Lavender plants for sale all year round (lavender is a hardy plant), as well as wooden crafts such as bird boxes made on site out of cedar so they don’t need painting. The Arts and Crafts Workshops have also continued including using acrylic paints on plant pots to achieve dramatic and colourful effects and participants making cards for their loved ones including preparing for the special occasion of Mother’s Day.
Next month is Easter season. We’re going to be focusing on the field once again with weeding being a priority. And in the greenhouse we’ll be germinating our own Fiddleford lavender. It’ll take 3-4 weeks, a slow process but worth it in the end.
February has sprung the Dorset Lavender Farm Project from Winter into Spring. We have had 2 more successful Arts and Crafts Workshops. The first involved using fabric paints and pens to decorate material that participants had brought from home, or bags created during the workshop. Sarah, who leads the workshops, brought patterns for inspiration or to trace from but people were welcome to use their imagination too, everyone was definitely immersed in the activity!
The second workshop involved making Felt Cacti, which can be used as pin cushions, or as a cute ornament testament to your sewing skills. They could also be further accessorised by adding contrasting coloured spines and flowers. A very enjoyable time had by all.
Looking towards March the Dorset Lavender Farm Project is attending the Women’s Action Network Dorset (WAND) 1 day event in Dorchester on Saturday 9th March. The Dorset Lavender Farm Project will be delivering a workshop focussing on making Lavender bags and learning about different types of Lavender and how their essences can be put to a variety of good uses. There will also be a stall selling plants and products, which means lots of work preparing things for sale.
Also work will start again in the field with weeding and hoeing the rows of lavender.
January has proved to be a great start for the Dorset Lavender Farm Project. Sarah, our volunteer with a definite artistic streak, has started her Creative Arts Workshops with a morning of making Tree of Life Dreamcatchers where fun was had by all. For a donation, members of the public could choose a wool from a variety of colours and textures and were confidently led by Sarah to produce something of their own creation to take home.
The Dorset Lavender Farm Project had a Sales Stall at the Pimperne Potato Fair where we sold Lavender plants, bunches, bags as well as wooden crafts such as handmade gardening trugs and candle holders. This event was also an opportunity to raise the profile of the Dorset Lavender Farm Project. This month we look forward to another Creative Arts Workshop with Sarah, using Fabric Paints, to decorate material that you can use to sew a bag or use your decoration on an item of your own.