On a cold, wet morning at the end of March, we were ready to plant our first lavender flowers.
Only two-three months had gone by since my conversation with dad. In the meanwhile, I felt like nobody actually believed that I was going to do this. Even I, as we got out of the car, carrying our first lavender plants, I felt like it wasn't real. To some extent, I was getting the same vibe from my family. Both my parents and their moms, along with my future husband, helped me plant and I guess that we were all feeling the same. A bit surprised, excited, concerned and trying to wrap our minds around what we were doing.
We had 600 young Sevthopolis lavender plants, brought from Bulgaria. I chose this type of lavender for its sturdiness, high content of essential oil, flower productivity and resistance to low temperatures. These plants should withstand temperatures as low as -30 degrees Celsius, which is a good thing, seeing as winters in Romania can get as cold as -20.
From what I read, it was better to have cuttings, rather than seedlings. I wanted sturdy plants that could adapt faster and which wouldn't require me to check up on them every other day. I live three and a half hours away from the planting area and getting there involves a long car trip or a 3hrs train ride and another half an hour by bus. All on a tight schedule which involves losing a whole day before getting there.
The whole idea was so new that even my grandmas were excited by it. Never before had someone planted lavender in that area and neither of them had handled this flower before. They were curious of the entire process and so helpful at a time when I was overwhelmed by the fact that my lavender dream was actually happening.
It was probably something both of them had never imagined. One of their nephews taking up farming. They grew up working the land, they got old doing the same thing. They loved it, but at the same time they didn't understand why I would exchange the comfort of the city for the working the fields.
I, on the other hand, was thrilled by the prospect of spending the day outdoors, caring for a magical plant. Over the next months, I realized caring for my lavender plants was actually a very good form of self-therapy and changing my mindset for something completely new.
I tried to make the most of the space I had and unfortunately, I did squeeze the plants in a smaller space. I had 45 cm between plants and about 1 meter between rows. Being a small surface, I never took into account the possibility of using machinery for maintenance or harvest.
It took us about 6 hours to plant the 600 cuttings. We all put a lot of effort into it - we were all exhausted by the time we finished.
And here they are: the first lavender plants in our small farm. A day I will celebrate for years to come.
I couldn't be more grateful for the fact that my entire family was there to help out. I wasn't expecting them to enjoy this so much and wanting to be part of it. Over time, their support has helped me tremendously. Not just support with the maintenance of the plants. But with emotional support at a time when I felt so vulnerable and scared. For the first time in years, I was finding myself lost and had no idea where to head next after I quit my office job.
Having them by my side, made everything so much easier.