Growing relaxation and rejuvenation in the Sonoma Valley
by Suzanne DeJohn, National Gardening Association
Imagine a huge field of lavender in full bloom, bathed in the soft morning light of a glorious June day. Feel the gentle breeze carrying its delicate and alluring scent. Now place this field in the magnificent Sonoma Valley of northern California, and you’ve set the scene for harvest time at the Sonoma Lavender company, creators of premium quality lavender gifts.
Tucked between the Pacific Ocean and the Mayacamas Mountain range, the Sonoma Valley’s geography, elevation, climate and soil—in many ways similar to the rich agricultural regions of the Mediterranean— provide ideal growing conditions not only for lavender, but also for the region’s world-famous vineyards.
Family-owned and operated, Sonoma Lavender cultivates about five acres of lavender—that’s about 7,000 lavender plants. Proprietors Rebecca and Gary, along with their two children, plant, tend, harvest, and carefully dry the crop. Then local artisans take over, hand-crafting the company’s unique product line, ranging from wreaths and other decorative accessories, to pillows and sachets, to their “spa line” of products.
According to owner Rebecca, English lavender, Lavendula angustifolia, has a sweet, flowery aroma and is used in the company’s bath products and lotions. “Provence” and “Grosso” varieties of lavender, both widely grown in Provence, France, are less floral and more herb-like in fragrance, and lend an appealing but not-too-sweet scent to sachets and pillows.
What makes lavender so special? First of all, lavender is considered the most important aroma in aromatherapy, an ancient art that is just now becoming popular in this country. Lavender is known for its “balancing” properties. If you are weary and have low energy, lavender is energizing; if you are feeling overstressed, lavender is calming and soothes frazzled nerves. Lavender revitalizes the body and tends the spirit, bringing you back to a state of balance.