Wanting to retire in Central Oregon to be closer to their grandchildren as well as venture into her passion of gardening, Terry Pearson researched the lavender plant’s properties along with the climate of Central Oregon and realized it to be a perfect match. After a challenging search, Terry and her husband Wayne found suitable combinations of climate, soil and views near Lake Billy Chinook. Many long hours were spent preparing the property that is Cascade Lavender, offering a variety of English [Lavandula Angustifolia] and French [Lavendula X intermedia] lavender plants, surrounded by a picturesque view of the Cascade Range.
Cascade Lavender currently has over 5,000 plants and in upwards of 60 different varieties of lavender. The French lavender is a cross between English and spike lavender, which are typically larger and generally have larger flower heads. The strong fragrance makes many of these cultivars excellent for crafting, their long stems making wonderful dried bundles. English lavender is a smaller plant, which is very hardy and many varieties can bloom twice if pruned lightly. English lavenders usually have a sweet scent and are great for culinary uses as well as in crafts. Most lavender plants have a deer resistant quality, which to the Central Oregon gardener is an added bonus.
The Pearsons are constantly adding to their collection, and Terry plants different types of lavender in her test garden prior to propagating them in the farm, making sure they will do well in this climate. Many of these lavender plants are available for purchase in their nursery. “We are still adding varieties,” she said.
Lavender has been in documented use for over 2,500 years as an herb. Central Oregon offers the perfect climate of low heat and humidity along with well-drained sandy soil for growing and cultivating lavender, indigenous to the greater Mediterranean area.
“It’s because of the wonderful properties of the lavender plant that made me want to open a lavender farm,” Terry said. “The farm is definitely more than a business, every spring it’s a miracle to see these little plants bloom.”
Lavender has a variety of purposes. Its fragrance is used in soaps, shampoos and sachets for scenting clothes and it is thought to help induce sleep and ease stress. Lavender used in tea or as a compress is believed to relieve congestion, headaches and tension and its essence is used for aromatherapy and massage and acupuncture. Terry enjoys the benefit of teaching others the properties of the lavender plant in the demonstration gardens.
Cascade Lavender farm and store are open in the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day. They distill and market their own lavender oil which is organically grown on the farm, as well as offer hydrosol, dried lavender and buds along with other aromatherapy products and custom gift baskets for purchase in their gift shop and online year round. The farm has picnic tables and patio chairs for visitors to relax in and enjoy the flowers and incredible views.
Cascade Lavender, 5000 SW Feather Drive in Madras. www.cascadelavender.com, 541-546-9390.