I've always wanted to visit a flower field-- and dream of being in Holland surrounded by tulips, which I will one day make happen. BUT in the meantime, here's Laura in New York City. So, when I discovered I could drive a few miles out east and pretend to be in Europe, I had to make it happen!
Lavender by the Bay is filled with 17 acres of English and French lavender-- truly a flower lover's dream come true. Located in East Marion, New York, it is quite the drive out to the tip of Long Island. From Queens it took two hours, but it was extremely worth it! (Thank you to my favorite brother who did the driving!)
It was a cloudy day, but I was blessed with sunshine when the rays cracked through the thick clouds and unveiled blue skies on Saturday. Lavender aroma filled the air and while it is known to be a stress reliever, it was the sight that soothed my mind. The flower field blooms in three waves and I arrived at the beginning of lavender season. To find out more about the three blooms, click here.
I happened to visit the farm during its first wave, called the First English Bloom, which starts mid to late June. During my visit, only a section of the many acres were filled with varying shades of purple and white flowers. The owners actually recommends people visit early July, during the second wave, because that is when the farm looks most impressive with its French lavender.
Though I didn't go during the "recommended" time, I don't feel like I missed anything. Open 9AM to 5PM and seven days a week, I wanted the field to be empty when I arrived. I got there at 9:30AM with hardly anyone there, some grey skies and buzzing bees. With only a few acres of purple, it was still enough to get gorgeous photos!
During the summer blooming season there is an $8 entry fee to walk in the fields. It becomes credit that can be used in their store. You can buy lavender in various forms: dried, potted, fresh-cut, you name it! Beyond that, there's lavender scones, lotion, soap and even HONEY made from the farm's own beehives. Where there are bees, there are beehives with sweet, sweet honey.
Although bees in general are terrifying when they fly undesirably close to you, I was happy to see them pollinating, feasting, and doing what bees are meant to do. I'm not an expert on the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) where an estimated 10 million honey beehives have mysteriously declined over the last six years, but it doesn't take a scientist to realize that this world is changing. It has been changing for centuries.
While the cause of CCD remains unknown, there are theories that lethal amounts of pesticides and fungicides play a role in their decline. In recent articles, a small parasite may be to blame for the worldwide decline of these bees. This is all sad news to hear and even more devastating to believe.
I know this blogpost took an unexpected turn. At first I thought I'd share what a beautiful experience I had at Lavender by the Bay. I did not expect to mention the death of honeybees, but I realized that what I am seeing in my visions today may not be the same as what future generations will see. One of the most beautiful things about a garden is the life that it attracts. Where there are flowers, there are bees, and many more insects that thrive in this ecosystem.
I am just one girl trying to find the beauty that exists in this world-- and we are losing a lot of beauty. The worst part is, I don't know if it can all be saved. We've got 99+ problems and CCD is just one of them.
I'm grateful for the existence of Lavender by the Bay and I'll be back to absorb its beauty again.