Lavender farm

Please wait..

We would like to use cookies to store information on your computer, to improve our website. One of the cookies we use is essential for parts of the site to operate and has already been set. You may delete and block all cookies from this site, but parts of the site will not work. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy notice.
Privacy notice
Tea Rooms Cream teas, cakes, coffee, ploughmans..... Review what's on offer inside
Online Shop Lovely Lavender Products Coming Soon
Plant Sales Lavender and Rose plant sales Coming Soon
1 More Tree 1 More Tree and Planting Programs The Farm's Gardens and Growers
Reuben's Growing Tips Success with Reuben

The Lavender Farm Blog

The lavender farm is not only a working farm but a well established Isle of Wight attraction. Within the farm team, there is an overwhelming desire is to share and bring to the attention of the public the many interesting ecological and educational aspects that we see on a daily basis.

Our primary goal is to operate a successful business, however,  we also see ourselves as an educational and informative centre. To this end we will be publishing various articles based around our nursery experiences as well as what we call good sense ecological propositions, that need to be shared, discussed and understood.


Bare Root Rose

Bare Root Roses
Bare Root Rose
When you first receive your rose delivery, unwrap them, and inspect for any damage. Then carefully place the root or roots in a cool place to stop growth but with some moisture such as a damp cloth, so that they don’t dry out

As long as there is good wrapping or packing around the roots you can keep them for some time, such as in an empty freezer which is switched off.  Keep the top open a tad of the freezer and make sure they are kept moist.

However, if you need to store them for more than say twelve days then I suggest you take them outside and heel them in. 

Using this method you can store the bare root for some time, firstly create a trench around twelve inches deep in reasonable soil not too boggy, then lay the roots on their side at a 45 degree angle, cover the root ball with soil and heel them in with your boot, leaving the head of the root exposed.

Be sure to check the trench regularly for moisture and when needed gently ease out each rose for replanting in final destination.


Obviously they should be moved prior to the generation of new root growth as this is easily damaged so a good planting plan should be adopted in order to make certain the roses are given the best chance to thrive.


Read more..

The Virtues of Lavender

Lavender is one of the most widely-grown shrubs ever.  Originally a Mediterranean plant, it is instantly recognisable by its distinctive green or silvery-grey foliage, blue flowers (although there are some white flowered varieties) and aromatic scent.  It’s also been grown for thousands of years for its other properties, too. These properties vary from insect repellant to herbal drinks and culinary flavouring to fragrances and decoration.

A member of the mint family, there are some 47 varieties.  There are records of its use as long ago as the ancient Persians and Egyptians, who used it as both a perfume and to soak embalming shrouds for its scent to mask decomposition and antibacterial properties for preservation.

The Romans found many more applications for lavender and made its use widespread throughout the known world. They scattered lavender sprigs to both scent and disinfect public and domestic bath water, and the oil was used for cleaning skin.  Its antibacterial properties were also appreciated, whether by army surgeons on the battlefield to clean wounds, or for cuts and scrapes at home.  The rooms of sick people were also aerated with it to help clean and scent the air.

The clean, fresh scents of lavender, combined with its cleansing properties, have continued to be appreciated.  Queen Victoria was a devotee, and during WW1 it was used as an antiseptic cleaner for washing floors and walls.  In fact, its name is thought to be partially derived from the Latin lavare (to wash) due to its use by the Romans as an additive to water for washing both themselves and their clothes in.

Today it is as popular as ever.  Most of its therapeutic uses derive from lavender oil, which is produced by steam distillation from commercially grown plants often from the south of France and the world’s largest producer, Bulgaria.  The oil is then used by the cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries for the production of perfumes, ointments, creams.

Closer to home, the oil is a staple essential oil for aromatherapy.  It can be mixed with a carrier to produce a massage oil which is known for its soothing and relaxing qualities and relieving the tension in sore and bruised muscles.  When placed in a diffuser its antiseptic qualities are effective for relieving the symptoms of coughs, colds and other respiratory infections.  

Therapeutically, lavender is probably best-know for treating the skin. 

As the Romans discovered, in diluted form its antibacterial and antiseptic qualities make it effective for washing minor cuts.  These same qualities make it good at managing spots such as acne which are caused by skin oils and bacteria.

Try it also as an insect repellent, and if the really keen ones decide to ignore it, try on insect bites and stings as it will provide quick relief for the stinging itchiness.  This ability to relive itchiness, combined with its moisturising and anti-inflammatory properties, will provide relief to dry, chapped skin such as that caused by winter winds, and complaints like eczema and other uncomfortable rashes.  Diluted with water and sprayed onto sunburn it will help take away the heat and also help to heal the skin quickly. Lavender’s soothing effect comes not only from its fresh, clean, floral aroma.   

The essential oil is worth rubbing into the temples or the back of the neck for relief from tension headaches.  You could also try inhaling or placing a drop at the base of the nostrils to help provide calm for anxious occasions; perhaps that wedding speech or a job interview, or to unwind after a long day.  Another way of unwinding with lavender is to mix a few drops in with your bathwater to provide a relaxant for your muscles and to create a calming atmosphere in the bathroom.  Lavender tea is also recommended for its calming qualities, and can be made easily by adding boiling water to lavender flowers picked from your garden.

Lavender oil is generally considered as safe to use but it is not recommended for use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.  Also, only therapeutic quality oil is for use on the skin and it should be diluted or blended with base oils and creams in the correct proportions.  Check the label as fragrance-only oils are labelled as not suitable for use internally or on the skin.


Read more..

Reuben's Rose Quest

Reuben’s Rose Quest
Reuben has always been a keen lover of roses as well as lavender. One of his new horticultural quests is that of the Isle of Wight Rose, and he is already three years into the development cycle of around ten years to cultivate a really special new and very “smelly” rose.

The real driving element here is Jill, Reuben's wife and business partner, who has the misfortune to suffer from a poor sense of smell. When Jill can smell the fragrance Rueben knows he has created a really “smelly” rose.

What actually goes into breeding the Isle of Wight Rose?

In a word, patience. The process can take up to ten years and so it’s an ambitious long-term goal for anyone to embark on.  To start, you need to decide how many crosses to make. The definition of a cross is where two rose cultivars are brought together to create a new one, with attributes of both parents being found in the new creation.

Crossing is carried out in the same general way as Mother Nature does it, collecting pollen from the pollen parent and transferring to the seed parent. Every time this is done it is called a cross. Rather than rely on insects, birds or the wind, Rueben has to carry out this process by hand, carefully transferring the really fine pollen from parent to parent, and then accurately recording exactly what he has done. It’s vitally important to Reuben to understand the history of each cross so characteristics of petal count, fragrance, and disease resistance can be bred in or out.

A few months later, in the autumn, the seed parent’s blooms produce hips.  These are berry-like in shape and bright orange to red in colour. Once ripened they can be slit open and the rose seeds carefully extracted and, again, notes taken of their details.

These seeds are then refrigerated until February, when they are sown in seed trays to await the germination process; details of each batch are marked and recorded. Eventually the new rose seedlings will develop, and as this occurs the strongest seedlings will be chosen to mature into full blown plants.

Reuben is looking for Grade One plants (Bare root roses are classified as grade 1, 1 1/2 and 2.  Grade 1 roses have at least 3 large canes (branches) and the lesser grades have fewer and/or smaller canes.)  At all times the possible grade ones are the final choices that will hopefully become commercially viable.

The above process can take years of crossing and analysing and re-crossing, not forgetting that the actual growth periods are seasonal so you only really see one good cross and development annually.   Once Rueben has what he considers to be The Rose it has to be trialled by other rose growers to verify its viability as a commercial rose.  Only after this rigorous testing will the rose go into production to be sold to the general public.

On completion Rueben can announce The Rose and give it a name connected with the Isle of Wight.  However, this will only happen if it passes the final test; if Jill can smell the fragrance from a distance.

Only then will he know it’s a really smelly rose!


Read more..
Reuben's Craft