There is nothing more soothing than the scent of fragrant lavender and especially when you are photographing it in a picturesque garden winery setting
in the Sonoma Valley north of San Francisco.
The Lavender Tours fill up quickly past participants have been thrilled with the multitude of photo ops at this locale. Our participants are still raving about the spectacular lavender, native grasses and flowers. It is a lovely way to spend a summer day with the incredible aroma of lavender and the drone of bees as they wake up and start their pollination tasks.
There's no need to travel to France surrounded by the crowds of tourists in the stifling heat of summer to photograph lovely lavender.
Home to six gardens that represent unique design themes intended to complement the natural beauty and elements that surround the area allocated to the garden, this winery has strategically designed and planted their gardens to gracefully appear as seemingly random drifts of native grasses, wildflowers and trees.
The show stopper is a one-acre plot with over 4500 lavender plants (shrubs) that annually produce approximately two million stems of lavender per year. A wooden bridge and benches, a lily pond, brilliant gladiolas and other flowers, stone walls and vineyards all await us.
As with wine, lavender is well suited to northern California's climate and well-drained sandy, loamy and stony soils.
Although lavender is inherently suited to the warmer Mediterranean climates, it will tolerate colder, wetter weather as long as excellent drainage is maintained.
Lavender plants bloom in June and are harvested in late June or early July, depending upon the weather. Two species of lavender are grown - Provence & Grosso. Provence is grown for culinary use and Grosso for bath and home products.
Provence lavender (lavandula x intermedia ‘Provence') is milder in aroma and offers sweeter more herbaceous flavors. Provence possesses a lighter shade of violet flowers and lighter gray foliage.
Grosso lavender (Lavandula x intermedia ‘Grosso') was named after Pierre Grosso who first selected this species of lavender. It features spicier, stronger and more robust flavors and is recognized for the vibrant purple-violet flower color and darker gray-green foliage. It is more suitable for home, bath and medicinal uses.
We will sample local wines and perhaps purchase some lavender products to take home with us.
Brief History of Lavender
The word “lavender” is derived from the Latin word “lavare” or “to wash.” It is believed that lavender, a member of the mint family, made its way to North America by way of the pilgrims in the 1600's, although lavender has been documented in use as an herb for over 2,500 years. The plant is believed to have originated in the Mediterranean and Northern Africa as it has been found for centuries in Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Switzerland, Yugoslavia, France, Spain, Syria, Nigeria and Yemen, among others. In some of its earliest-known uses, lavender was used in the preservation process of Eqyptian mummies and was the primary source of perfumes. Early references to the herb, most specifically in the Bible, call it “spikenard.”
The properties used to determine the quality of lavender are its distinctive levels of “woodsy,” “sweet,” “pungent,” “citrus” and “floral” characteristics. In addition to being noted for its soothing, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory health-related properties, lavender is also commonly tucked into wedding bouquets as a message of ‘best wishes'
After our garden shoot, we will visit another very picturesque winery along the Valley of the Moon in Sonoma Valley where we will also have our picnic lunch.
You will learn how to take compelling landscape shots and flower close ups using filters, differential focusing, motion blurring, use of reflective mylar, multiple exposures and more. Bring along your macro lens if you wish, Lens Baby, and soft focus filters to play with. There are always some dew drops on certain plants in the morning and we will work on creating some very Impressionistic looking images.
Fee includes instruction. We will begin in Sonoma in the early morning for the best light and cooler temperature. Please pack a meal for a picnic lunch.
Please contact us for more details and to register for the tour.
Click here to view photos taken by Lavender Workshop attendees on our Client Photo Gallery.
"Thank you so much for showing diligence and taking care of every aspect of the trip.
No wonder your business name has 'Fantastic" in it! " Lavender Workshop, 2008, K. Turk, CA
"The Lavender Workshop was great fun! The instruction was right on target, the location excellent and the timing perfect since the garden was in full bloom." P. Silveri, CA
"It was delightful; scenery and scents were amazing. We were able to take our time and not rush through the experience, which was a real treat!" S. Sturges, CA