Mosgiel lavender farm stops harvesting

Arbordale lavender farm in Bush Rd has ceased growing lavender after 31 years. Photo by Christine O'Connor.
Arbordale lavender farm in Bush Rd has ceased growing lavender after 31 years. Photo by Christine O'Connor.
Mosgiel's Arbordale lavender farm has stopped growing lavender after 31 years in the business.

Farm co-owner Ginny Lloyd said the fragrant purple blooms on the Bush Rd property would be left for sheep to graze on and bees to pollinate.

An abundance of rabbits and challenging frost conditions contributed to the decision to change the business, she said.

''We have had a lot of fun with it, and it has been fascinating but there is a lot of work involved.''

Lavender farming was similar to growing grapes in that people had ''romantic notions'' of sitting among the vines but there was ''a bit more to it''.

The last lavender crop was harvested early last year but a gift shop at the farm would continue to operate, offering scrapbooking and craft classes.

The last of the farm's essential oils could be bought at the shop.

The Johnson family farm was originally a nursery which morphed into a lavender farm when cuttings from France grew successfully, Ms Lloyd said.

The volume of rain the area got proved challenging for the flower but the notion that lavender was a delicate species was not true.

''They don't like a lot of love - they will actually die with a lot of love.''

At the farm's peak, two large paddocks (about 2ha) of lavender were being harvested.

The farm's angustifolia and intermedia species were among the first to be exported, she said.

The farm exported to the United States and Japan.

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