Monday, April 30, 2012

Lavender Update & FIRST Blog Giveaway

Right now, I really don't think the lavender plants could possibly be any more green and lush. Hard to believe that just six weeks ago everything was sleepy and grey. The only thing more beautiful is the fireworks of FULL bloom!
And based on the initial bud counts, in VERY full bloom they will be...soon! A true feast for the eyes. Have I mentioned lately how very much I love our farm??

Moving on to important business...after much anticipation (insert drum roll, please), we are excited to begin our bimonthly Sunshine Lavender Farm product giveaway!!  For our first lovely gift, I have chosen the ever so fragrant, ever so soothing, Lavender Bath Salts. This jar is filled (16 oz to be exact) with yummy sea salt and crushed "sunshine lavender farm" exclusive lavender florets. Also included is a muslin bag to fill and use in your very own relaxing bath.

Aren't you relaxed now after just reading about this wonderful product? 

To be included in the drawing that will take place on Saturday May 5th at 3:00 PM EST, please leave a comment below and answer the following question- Of the MANY practical uses of lavender, which is your favorite?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Organic Gardening with Praying Mantises

While walking around the farm Saturday, I came across a most unusual egg case. I have seen them before and knew instantly what it was but I do realize that most people may not be familiar with it. It is of course the egg case of a praying mantis. After taking a picture, I went inside to do a little research on praying mantises in general. I discovered that each fall, female praying mantises deposit eggs in frothy brown cases that they then attach to twigs. The cases harden, protecting the eggs from birds and bad weather. Each egg case may contain anywhere from 50 to 200 baby mantis. The babies typically hatch out of the nest sometime between May to July.

But, why on earth would anyone want such an unusual creature in their garden?
Although mantises are not pets, they are also NOT pests. They are instead beneficial insects that have a ravenous appetite. They are programmed to eat all the time so, a mantis will hunt for food both day and night.  A single praying mantis can eat as many as 800-1000 bugs in a lifetime, and they live about 8-9 months. What a WONDERFULLY organic way to control pests in your own garden!

So, if you haven't found any egg cases in your own garden, try looking other places such as a park or neighbors yard (with permission of course). If you do find an egg case somewhere off  your property, you can easily remove it and place into your own garden. Or you can actually buy egg cases from beneficial-insect suppliers.  

(Information and mantis picture courtesy of

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Homemade Lavender Play-Doh

Recently I have spent some time researching more fun, crafty things to do with lavender. I have found several different ideas that I can't wait to do with fresh lavender but I must be patient until the field is blooming and ready for my shears.

I did find a neat "recipe" for homemade lavender scented play-doh. It was so easy and included things we already had at home. Also, it was a really fun activity for a young visitor we had recently.

Recipe for Homemade Play-doh
  •  1 cup flour
  •  1/2 cup salt
  •  1 cup water
  •  1-1/2 tablespoons oil
  •  1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  •  Few drops of food coloring
  • 1/4 teaspoon (~1.5ml) of Sunshine Lavender Farm lavender essential oil
First begin by mixing the dry ingredients (flour, salt and cream of tartar) together in a pan. Next mix the wet ingredients (water, oil, food coloring) in a measuring cup. A glass one worked the best so that the food coloring doesn't stain.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture in the pan. Carefully stir until combined. It is best to have the mixture pretty homogeneous before placing on the heat so mix well. Cook over medium heat for about 30 seconds to a minute. The cooking goes fast so stay close, and be careful not to overcook since it will dry out the dough.

If using, now is the time to add a 1/4-teaspoon of essential oil. My pipette measures in ml, and I did about 1.5 ml.

Mix in the essential oil and continue cooking, stirring constantly, about 30 seconds more. The dough will get clumpy and then start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Once it starts pulling together it’s done. Hurry and scrape the dough into a ball and remove from the pan.
Place the cooked dough on a plate and knead a few times until smooth. Store the dough in an airtight container so it won’t dry out. Coincidentally, we also used a peppermint and a rose essential oil for other colors of play-doh. 
With proper storage, your aromatherapy play-doh should last up to one month. HAVE FUN!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Downtown Hillsborough "Fresh Roots Festival" April 21, 2012

Sunshine Lavender Farm is honored to help promote an exciting NEW event in our neighbouring town of Hillsborough, NC...The Downtown Hillsborough's Fresh Roots Festival on Saturday April 21st, 2012. Although we will not be setting up at this event, we WILL be attending to support our friends and other local small business owners! We do hope you can do the same!

Please see the official news release below from the Hillsborough Fresh Roots Festival website-

"The Downtown Merchants of Historic Hillsborough [DTMHH] are pleased to announce their new Spring Event – Downtown Hillsborough’s Fresh Roots Festival (Saturday, April 21) and the accompanying Fresh Roots Feast the following afternoon (Sunday, April 22). Fresh Roots Festival brings together every aspect of basic joy, pleasure and excitement then wraps them into a lovely gift to the community. Join the festivities in Downtown Hillsborough on Saturday – all day – into the evening! This fantastic event is free to the public!

Blending the historic with the contemporary, the Fresh Roots Festival highlights numerous venues in both the Historic Downtown District and the Historic Mill District. Venues include all of the Downtown and Mill District Businesses, the Eno River Farmer’s Market, The Depot at Hillsborough Station, as well as some special feature presentations.

Visit the retail shops in the Historic District and the Mill District, all of whom invite you to learn about their history, vision and their unique items. Shop and Gallery owners will be announcing special incentives for the Fresh Roots Festival, extending a welcoming opportunity for you to purchase interesting and thoughtful gifts, art, jewelry, crafts, books, vintage items and much, much more! From the well established hardware and vintage shops, to the leading-edge jewelers, crafts and galleries, shopping in Historic Hillsborough is a breath of fresh air.

Numerous venues will present performing artists throughout the day including musicians, author readings, poetry readings, a drum circle and more. The Eno River Farmer’s Market will also host special features at their pavilion throughout Fresh Roots – accentuated by the Fresh Roots Feast – a collaborative fund-raising effort by local farmers and local chefs! Tickets can be purchased at The Depot in Hillsborough.

On-going events offered by members of the DTMHH include numerous food and beverage specials at our popular eating establishments. Check-in on your favorite spots or explore some new menus, but come on out and support your Downtown Merchants then treat yourself to a tasty, satisfying meal. In Historic Hillsborough, we are Fresh Every Day!"

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Hillsborough Spring Lavender Planting Clinic & Market FUN

This past weekend, our farm visited the Hillsborough Farmers Market and hosted several "Spring Lavender Planting Clinics". Individuals from all over came to learn how to plant and care for lavender in their garden.

For purchase, we had many lavender varieties (new and old favorites) as well as loads of handcrafted fresh lavender items for the body, garden, gifts, home and weddings too. So many one-of-a-kinds!

It was so nice to see so many familiar faces and meet some new friends. The weather started out a bit chilly but things warmed up quite nicely and being out in the sunshine was wonderful. This was the first of several spring opportunities to learn about planting lavender and purchase our lavender goodies.

We enjoyed assisting many individuals with their specific lavender questions and especially their lavender purchases...this is the market basket of a very satisfied customer!

 If we didn't see you at the this past weekend, we hope to see you at another lovely lavender event soon!!

Monday, April 9, 2012

2012 Chapel Hill Spring Garden Tour

Sunshine Lavender Farm is honored to participate in another exciting event this coming weekend- The 2012 Chapel Hill Spring Garden Tour!

April 14th, 10 am to 4pm
April 15th, 11am to 4 pm

The tour will feature eight remarkable gardens with styles ranging from hidden bungalow gardens to majestic landscapes and from spacious rural wooded gardens to urban gardens. Sunshine Lavender Farm's purple tent will be in the Marson Garden, 1500 Hatch Road. This is the beautiful home of our dear friend Pat. We’ll be hosting a lavender planting clinic with lots of lavender seedlings to choose from. Tickets for the tour are on sale now.

For more information about the tour and Marson Garden see

Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring Lavender Planting Clinic & Sale on April 7th

This weekend, the farm visits our home town market- the Hillsborough Farmers Market. Come and learn how to plant and care for lavender in your garden with farm owner Annie Baggett. Demonstrations and Q & A happens throughout market hours, 8am - noon, so come when it is convenient for you.

Choose from many lavender varieties (LOTS OF NEW ONES THIS YEAR) that grow well in our area. Bring your questions and receive answers just for your garden. Come and find locally handcrafted fresh lavender items for the body, garden, gifts, home and weddings too. Many one-of-a-kinds!

Conveniently located in The Home Depot parking lot of Hwy 86 between Hillsborough and Chapel Hill, just off I-85. Visit for more information. This is a 25 year old, established Farmers' Market with lots of farmer/vendor members and plenty of parking! Look for our signature purple tent!

Market-goers get their lavender questions answered.

Lavender seedlings ready for market.

Fresh blooming lavender in spring.

Farm fresh items for body, garden, gifts, home, and weddings from the lavender that we grow.

Come early for the best selection. Be sure to pick up our new FREE Lavender Planting Guide!