Death & destruction in the lavender field

lavender | DancingRedRanch.comIt started out with such joy and adventure! After seeing a lavender hillside at McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma, California, we decided we wanted a sublime bit of heaven for ourselves.

But our lavender field hasn’t been a pretty sight for several years now. Stricken by what we suspected was lavender blight, we stopped pruning for fear of spreading the dread devil. A third of the field (which we gave pride of place out front, inside the circular driveway, clustered around the fountain) is scraggy. And, despite repeated drenches of fungicide, the other two thirds are apparently dead, or hanging on by a literal thread of a branch.

I thought about filling out what’s left of the lavender (Lavandula × intermedia ‘Provence’) with rosemary and mexican heather. I gave Ross a few months to consider it, since he’s the one who’s planted and replanted the 300 specimens several times already. He finally decided a month ago. “Let’s give it one more go.”

lavender | DancingRedRanch.comWe’re planting them further apart, to encourage better air circulation. And we’re cleaning up the lavender detritus in the gravel mulch. (We began — it must have been seven years ago — with wood mulch. After the first wave of blight, Ross removed all that mulch and replaced it with gravel. He’s nothing if not loyal.) I’m pulling out the well and truly dead plants and gently pruning the survivors.

We did all this two weekends ago, before this recent freeze, so we’ll see what things look like this coming weekend. Fingers crossed. We have the next dozen lavenders ready to be bedded in, and my felco blister is nearly healed.

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2 Responses to Death & destruction in the lavender field

  1. Lorraine March 3, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    …so sad to see that the lavendar field has taken such a wrong turn. Kudos to you both for trying one more time! Can’t wait to see the results of the new planting approach.

    • Dancing Red Ranch March 3, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

      And you were there at McEvoy Ranch when we had our epiphany! If spring ever arrives here, Ross will be back out there planting…

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