Not in the budget to travel to Provence, France, this year to experience the lavish smell and colours of lavender fields? No worries…while that would be a fabulous trip, we have some beautiful lavender farms locally right here in Ontario!
While high season to observe these lovely blooms is typically during the month of July, this spring we had colder than normal temperatures and much rain for a longer time so flowering was delayed by a couple weeks — that means it’s not too late! I personally chose The Lavender Farm in Ayr, Ontario to visit this summer.
It is a historic, family run farm, dating back to 1882. Although the Gillies family originally raised and sold cattle and hogs successfully here, and ran a prosperous barn equipment business from 1989 to 2002, economic changes dictated that the family be innovative. It was decided that they would plant their first 600 lavender plants! Varieties included Grosso, Phenomenal, Hidcote, Munstead, Seal, Sachet, Melissa, and Violet Intrigue.
So what is the attraction of lavender? If you are not familiar with this luscious herb that grows as a shrub, let’s begin by telling you that it is native to Northern Africa and sun-filled, stoney, mountainous areas of the Mediterranean. Upon entering the fields, the light, pleasant fragrance of the lavender will fill your nostrils — breathe deep! Ahhh…relaxed yet? The essential lavender oil made from the purple blooms is commonly employed cosmetically, helping to purify the skin in soaps, shampoos, bath products and creams; as an ingredient in natural cleaning products and air fresheners; for medicinal purposes such as in tea and in the practice of aromatherapy. Success in Human studies suggest that lavender can be effective in treating anxiety, insomnia, digestive issues as well as possessing anti-fungal properties, helping to accelerate healing of minor burns, bug bites and other minor skin wounds.
At The Lavender Farm, you can walk between the purple mounds, breathing in the calming fragrance, relax in the Adirondack chairs on the hill or sit under the gazebo shelter, taking in the expansive view. Need a day of meditation or mindfulness? This is the perfect atmosphere of serenity!
Visit their on-site store to select from various lavender scented products; fabric saches to creams, air freshening spray to the essential oil itself — all reasonably priced. It’s conveniently located directly beside the barn which provides a beautiful rustic event space that can be rented for weddings, parties or meetings. While I was there, they were preparing the hall for an event that night so I was able to sneak a peak!
Throughout the grounds there are lots of magnificent settings for photo backgrounds no matter what the occasion. If you love the country and you want to bring that theme to your event, THIS is the place for you! The tables are sweetly decorated with fresh floral arrangements, lights strung across the natural wood beamed ceiling shine at night to create a romantic ambiance. They are currently booking for events in 2020!
Unlike other lavender farms in the province, The Lavender Farm in Ayr, Ontario is not yet a highly commercialized venue so it still maintains its intimate “home-sweet-home” charm. Visitors are greeted warmly by the family pup as you pull in to park and human members of the Gillies family are truly welcoming, inviting you to take in the tranquil surroundings as you wander through the farm. They are open this Civic Holiday weekend. As it is getting later in the season however, do call ahead or email them to find out the status of the lavender blooms to avoid any disappointment. Contact information for The Lavender Farm is located on their Welcome Page. If you can’t make it out this year, add it to your “must-visit” list of places to drop in on next summer!