Gary Meehan and his wife Diane live in a picture perfect landscape at Bonny Doon Farm in Santa Cruz. Their house seems to float on a sea of lavender. The Meehans were kind enough to open their garden and share some of their favorite lavender varieties such as ‘Provence’ for its ease of care and the extra fragrant L. angustifolia.
Allen Smith: Now, Gary, I know you all did a lot of research, and you’ve actually done your own crosses here to find the best lavenders for Bonny Doon.
Gary Meehan: Yes, we have.
Allen: How do you recommend the average home gardener find the best lavender for their space?
Gary: I recommend that they take a look at their offerings of the local garden centers closest to their homes.
These people have gone to a great trouble to have the varieties that are climatized to their area.
Allen: Gary, is there a variety of lavender that you would recommend to the beginning gardener?
Gary: Absolutely, I’d recommend Provencal over any other variety because of the beautiful color, the traditional look it has.
Allen: It’s done very well for me this year in my mid-South garden where the weather can be quite humid. I had a bumper crop.
Gary: Same with us. Provencal must be the most vigorous plant of all of them. It has the nicest characteristics, truly, when you compare it to all.
Allen: Now, you grow a number of different varieties of lavender here. Which are some of your favorites?
Gary: I’d have to say my very favorite is the L. angustifolia that I believe is still the sweetest of all, maybe with a close second of the Provencal.
Allen: Now, some of these lavenders have more aromatic oils in them than others. Which of the varieties have better oils?
Gary: I would say, as far as the sweetness, you can always depend on L. angustifolia. That’s the variety of lavender that I like to see people cook with.
It’s the sweetest of oils and still enough color to suit most people.
Bonny Doon Farm is not open to the public but you can purchase other heavenly scented soaps and candles made at the farm on their website www.bonnydoonfarm.com.