Sudden tomato demise begets lavender-scented hope

Sorry 2020, you're gonna have to try a little harder to keep me down. I'm planting lavender!

Gardening really is the best therapy. So you say your garden was decimated by an only-in-COVID-times, tree-massacring, freezing windstorm for the ages? 

Well, that's a blow. The tomato leaves are all brown and crinkly, and that pumpkin vine does not look ... alive. That's unfortunate. Huh. ... Wait a minute. What if...  That's it! Pivot opportunity! Why not get our lavender-scented farm dreams dusted off and launched? Yes, that's what we'll do! What time is it? It's lavender o'clock, baby!

And off we skip to a brighter tomorrow. Good old gardening. Even in the gloomiest, height-of-the-pandemic, "what on earth just happened to that massive ancient tree that must've been planted by someone who barely parked their handcart??" moments -- when you feel like you're one unlucky swing away from being brought to your knees, and then the unlucky swing happens and it's pretty damn bad -- there's still, STILL!, something on the horizon if you're interested in gardening. You've got another turn of the seasons coming up on your calendar, a turn that will bring all sorts of possibilities. 

And suddenly instead of being bummed that your tomatoes were blitzed by an early-September frozen hurricane, you start to remember your time with them fondly. "You know, those tomato plants actually had a pretty good run. That July salsa, alone, was worth it. Yeah, it was their time..."

Because you've got lavender plans. Big, big lavender plans. Indeed, two weeks after the storm, we planted our first-ever lavender after becoming more and more enamored with these hardy perennials over the past few months. 

This year was our first-ever on the farmers' market scene, which -- even in COVID times when things are slowed down and smaller-scale -- has been utterly invaluable for Nico and me. I'll write more about our farmers' market aha moments in an upcoming dispatch, but basically we got the chance to see firsthand what market-goers are drawn to and what they'll clamor to take home. Lavender is always a winner. 

Above all, people want it in freshly picked bundles, but they also like it dried on the stem or dried and stuffed into sachets (little organza bags of lavender that can keep your sock drawer fragrant or be available in a bedside drawer when you need a relaxing inhalation of lavendery goodness). 

We were fortunate to have a couple neighbors allow us to cut lavender from their yards this summer. But we've never had any ourselves. Until now! 

It seems to grow effortlessly in our climate, doesn't require good dirt or a lot of attention to thrive, and it's in high-demand, so what's not to love? Sure enough, after just a few days rooted on our farm, this crowd-pleaser is already bringing an aromatherapeutic ambiance to my watering-and-pondering strolls. 

So yes I'm gonna keep picking myself up off the mat even as 2020 hurls punch after punch. I have lavender ambitions to hold onto. I'll be watching these plants grow and expand year after year, and countless anxiety-reducing whiffs will be my reward.

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