New Zealand’s Lavender Farms Inspiration for Novel
Research for her first novel Jakob’s Colours took British writer Lindsay Hawdon and her two young sons to the Land of the Long White Cloud and its fragrant lavender fields, reports the Independent.
Hawdon writes about her visit to New Zealand in a travel feature for the newspaper.
“I was writing a novel about colours. We’d already travelled through India and China in search of saffron yellow and celadon green and now found ourselves in warm winter climes looking for the colour violet. Driving down the bumpy track to Lavender Creek Farm, near the town of Otaki on the Kapiti Coast, we can smell the flowers before we can see them – a sweet, vaporous scent, carried on a warm spring breeze.
“The farm is home to 7000 lavender plants and 330 varieties: Pacific blue, English, Greek and Grosso, and the entire production process takes place on site.
“Driving from the ferry docks at Nelson, we travel a short distance south to Blenheim and the French Fields bed and breakfast lavender farm, beneath the rolling hills of Marlborough, renowned for its vineyards. We arrive at a Provençal-styled farmhouse of flaking blue shutters, sanded walls, and chain-worn floorboards, just as a truck is pulling into the drive. There is a loud humming noise in the air as we clamber out of the car.
“‘You’ve arrived just in time,’ exclaims Ruth Struthers, our host. ‘The bees are here.’ Right on cue, two men in beekeeping outfits clamber out of the truck and begin transporting five heavy beehives from the back of it. ‘They’ll be here for the next three months,’ she tells us. ‘To flavour their honey with lavender pollen.’
“[After a visit to the Brancott Vineyard Estate] we cycle back to sit once again amid the lavender, as gliders, biplanes and birds swoop back and forth in the sky above. There we stay, surrounded by blue; even the bees seem calm in the mystical, peaceful haze that seems to hover above the lavender rows.”
Original article by Lindsay Hawdon, The Independent, January 8, 2016.
Photo by Lindsay Hawdon.