Walk through lavender fields and purchase lavender-infused creams, oils, teas, herbal pillows and more. This is fragrant farmyard fun just an hour from Sydney
Almost two decades ago, Carmel Hawkey and her husband left Sydney’s Inner West and headed to the rural south-western fringe of the city to grow lavender at a property in Tahmoor.
There’s something fittingly down to earth about a visit to Windsong Lavender farm
If you’re a lavender lover, you probably know what a magnificently multifaceted flowering plant this is. If you’re not, a quick summary – humans have been using lavender for medicinal, culinary, decorative and air-freshening purposes since the time of the Ancient Greeks, and it’s now cultivated in temperate climates all around the world, although growing any of the 39 known species of it can be tricky, as the Hawkeys discovered the hard way.
“We had to bulldoze our first crop of 1,100 plants after they failed to flourish due to fire, drought and then excessive rain.” Carmel explains. “Fortunately, we then came upon a hardier variety, which did grow well. We had some friends who lived in Mittagong next to an old woman who had an unclassified type of lavender growing in her yard.
“Upon investigating, we found the lavender had been planted by a man called Herrington, who had been the head gardener at Lady Astor’s manor before migrating to Australia in the early 1930s. That was the days before quarantine regulations, so he’d brought or arranged to get some lavender from England to remind him of home. He ended up selling it at the local market and using the money to fund regular holidays back to England. The old woman living next to our friends was Herrington’s daughter and the type of lavender in her garden ended up being called ‘Herrington Lavender’.”
There’s something fittingly down to earth about a visit to Windsong Lavender farm, which is at its most beautiful when the plants are in bloom between November and February (Sunday is the usual visiting day but other times can be arranged). For a start, Carmel doesn’t charge for giving visitors a tour of her property and answering any questions they have. Then, if you like, Carmel will make you a $7 morning or afternoon tea incorporating lavender-infused ingredients, and you can also purchase some of her similarly affordable homemade products, which include lavender-based sachets, foot and hand creams, oils, soaps, shower gels and jams.
As Carmel puts it: “It’s a nice day out and you can take a nice little souvenir that doesn’t cost much home with you.”
Windsong Lavender Farm w: www.windsonglavenderfarm.com t: (02) 4683 0055 a: 141 Nattai Street, Tahmoor NSW
By Nigel Bowen