As can be seen elsewhere on our website, we take real pride in looking after our farm, particularly the fifty acres of ancient woodland.
Unfortunately, in both this country and elsewhere more trees are being cut down than are being planted.
This is one of the reasons we are delighted to have 1 More Tree, whose goal is to plant as many trees as possible throughout the world, based here. Their first planting project is at the lakes area of the farm. Running parallel to the main road, there will be over 2000 native trees planted here starting at the end of November 2017.
Acorns 2 Oaks
To encourage children into the great outdoors generally and an interest in trees particularly, 1 More Tree have put together ‘1 More Oak Tree’. This is an oak tree growing kit in a bag. It contains all you need and makes it as easy as possible to plant an oak tree.
In the hessian bag you’ll find an eco-pot made from biodegradable natural material, a bag of compost, instructions and, of course, acorns!
These make a really different stocking-filler which is practical, will outlive twofold even the youngest of children, and help to supply them with a lifetime’s oxygen. Plus it’ll educate your child about where plants come from and how they grow without them knowing it.
Drop into the farm shop to learn more about tree planting and buy your 1 More Oak Tree kits, or you can buy them online here
Don’t forget if you’ve nowhere to plant your oak once it outgrows the ecopot, just bring it back and we’ll find space for it.
In case you lose your instructions…
How to Plant your Acorn
Empty the soil from the plastic bag into the bio pot, making the surface level. Then press two holes of about 3cms into the soil, place an acorn on its side in each hole and cover with soil.
Now put the pot on a saucer, and ideally place it somewhere with morning sun and afternoon shade. If not where is next ideal place?
Water your acorns enough so that the soil doesn’t pull away from the side of the pot. Check how damp the soil is with your finger, as long as it feels moist but not running in water it will be fien.
All you need do now is keep watering as needed and watch your acorn sprout into an oak. Let it carry on growing until roots sprout from the side of the pot.
Roots sprouting from the pot? You can now do one of these things:
3 – Bring the tree back to the Lavender Farm and we will plant it for you
And remember; don’t be tempted to chop your tree down after two hundred years as it still has some growing to do!
Decorative and practical, lavender wands have been made for centuries. Also known as batons or bottles, they were originally placed in drawers and clothes chests to protect the contents with lavenders natural moth repelling properties. Today they still work against moths and also make an interesting home decoration whilst providing the clean, fresh floral scent of lavender.
Close up of wand weave
Wood Craft Items
Here at the Lavender Farm we are lucky enough to have fifty acres of ancient woodland, which we take care and pride to manage sympathetically. Like any woodland, trees get blown over and coppices need attention, supplying Reuben with the raw materials for him to use his woodcraft skills producing a variety of original, attractive and practical pieces.
They are an environmentally friendly and sustainable by-product of the woods management. All the items are of high quality, hand-crafted, and unique.
Some items are by order only and others directly available from both our online and farm shop.
A distinctive, eye-catching reindeer crafted from wind fallen trees in our ancient woodland. It cleverly uses the different shape of each log to create each reindeer differently. Rudolf comes as a flat pack style, so can be taken apart and repacked easily for next year. The size of Rudolf is around 2½ft tall for internal use and larger ones can be created for external usage as requried. As you can see from the picture, the antlers are ideal for hanging decorations from and can be used as a substitute for the traditional Xmas tree.
The natural materials used mean these will be looking great for many Christmases unlike a traditional cut Christmas tree which will soon start malting needles and turn brown.
Unique display bottle holders
Why not compliment your open fire or wood burner with one of these handmade log baskets. Made from a sold ash timber frame with woven hazel rod panels these are not just attractive but also robust and functional. You could also use the as toy boxes, laundry baskets, or for general storage.
They come in three sizes, big "Bertha", medium "Ethel" and small "Edie".
The panels are filled with woven hazel rods, providing a contrast in both colour and texture from the light ash frame. As these are crafted from solid timber they are heavy enough to be stable when holding your umbrellas or walking sticks.
Cut from a solid ash log, the bark is removed for safety and holes drilled to place your candles in securely. The holder in the picture is for three candles and the hole diameters vary from model to model, as these are handmade call in or phone us with your particular requirements and Reuben will make one to meet your needs, if possible.
Whilst thinking about candles have a look at our range of scented ones to use in your new holder.
As one of the most used items in the kitchen and often left on the work surface near the bread bin, why not treat yourself and your home to a solid ash board? Much more attractive than a shop bought plastic or wooden block version, ours are handmade from a thick piece of ash and then oiled with natural sunflower oil, to bring out the natural beauty of the timber and add durability.
The humble wooden spoon, a staple of kitchen utensils for centuries, is sometimes overlooked, with plastic, metal or a kitchen gadget used for mixing instead.
But wooden spoons have a lot to offer cooks. They are strong so great for stirring thick batters and cake mixes and scraping the bottom of pans, and they won’t melt in hot substances or heat up quickly like metal or plastic. They won’t scratch your favourite mixing bowl either or react with acidic ingredients like lemons or tomatoes as metal spoons can.
These are all handmade so please call in or phone and tell us what you need and Reuben will do his best to help.
How did it come to be in Belgium? Well, the Lavender Farm was started over twenty years ago and this was one of the original items we had made for our shop. Although we’ll never know the details it had two decades to get there.
November’s issue of the Beacon, an Island magazine, features The Lavender Farm and Reuben. It gives you a broad idea of Reuben and the Farm’s activities, painting Reuben as the island character he is.
The tractor he uses for ploughing competitions is the same one he first drove at aged 10, being a Fordson Standard. Aside from winning awards at ploughing Reuben and the team have won many medals for their lavender stand at Hampton Court Flower Show and others.
Champion Ploughman on many occasions
Thank you to the Beacon and John Hannah for letting us reproduce the article.
Most farms have tucked away areas full of discarded objects overgrown with weeds and grass. The Lavender Farm is no different. One such object we unearthed looks like a bench crossed with an early bone shaker bicycle without the wheels, but it is in fact an efficient besom broom making machine.
Looking like nothing more than a stick with twigs stuck on, or upside-down supermodel having a bad hair day, the besom broom is instantly recognisable to most of us as the witches broom. However, it was for centuries the typical broom. It was traditionally made with a hawthorn stave for the handle and birch twigs for the brush part, but heather, straw and herbs were also used. The twigs were attached to the stave with a split withy, a thin flexible branch from the willow tree, or twine made from brambles or other suitable plant, but string and a nail are used today. Its distinctive appearance is partly due to the twigs being tied around the end of the stave, giving it a rounded shape rather than being flat ended as more modern brooms are.
The besom has seen an increase in popularity in recent years in line with more interest in woodland management and using renewable materials. If looked after, a besom will last fifteen years, it looks better than a plastic or metal handled broom, and when its worn out just throw it on the bonfire rather than landfill it.
So why the connection between witches and brooms? There is all sorts of hokum connected with brooms and folklore. According to J. K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, witches chose brooms to make magic because they were easy to hide. A variation on this is that it was a way of camouflaging a staff, the handle, which was used to harness magical powers.
They were also used to symbolically sweep away harmful energy and protect houses and their occupants. You can also turn them up the wrong way for good luck or jump over them for the same effect.
There is, perhaps, a more believable origin for the mystical reputation of such a humble tool. Before trained medical professionals became the norm for healthcare, a local woman, often a widow or spinster, would dispense herbs and potions and help with childbirth. Because such things could be effective but no one really knew why they were sometimes accused of witchcraft and, as they were women who at the time were strongly associated with housework, the broom became part of the magical image.
In Welsh folklore they were used as an important part of marriage ceremonies. All the couple had to do was place a broom across the doorway of their home-to-be and both jump over it. If neither of them knocked it over then the marriage would be a success, if they did then it would end in disaster and the whole thing was called off. If they decided that they’d had enough in the first year they could jump the broom leaving the house and they’d be divorced.
Whether you want one as part of your Halloween fancy dress, to fly over the rooftops, or to sweep worm casts from the lawn, they are also decorative and environmentally friendly, and very much in use today.
Easily overlooked tucked underneath old farm buildings and warehouses, the humble staddle stone was an important part of the structure. Originally made of timber, stone became the norm for its strength and durability.
There are two main reasons for using them.
The first is to raise the barn, grain store or other structure off the ground. This kept them above the damp earth and helped air circulate underneath to keep them dry. If this were the only reason they could have used stone blocks and laid the timber beams for the buildings framework directly on top.
Known for their ability to gnaw through just about anything and squeeze into small gaps, rats, and mice too, can’t walk upside down. This is where the stone cappings come into their own because the overhang they created when on top of the stone plinths made it impossible for vermin to climb over them. The shape of the caps varies regionally from square, round and fluted to the flat-topped cones we have on the Isle of Wight. A good example of this is the central feature of our lavender bed in the middle of the farm courtyard.
The staddle stones raised the buildings off the ground, which meant a big step up to access them. Building permanent steps gave hungry rodents an easy way of getting to the contents so temporary timber steps were used during the day and removed at night or when not in use. Sometimes stone or brick steps were built with the top step missing, making it too high for them to jump. For added protection these steps sometimes had dog kennels built under them.
Staddle stones are still used today as garden ornaments and original buildings exist with them in place. The word staddle stone is also used in house, farm, and road names.
Some Housekeeping Pointers
Please bear in mind that The Lavender Farm not only grows crops but is a working sheep farm. Our sheep’s well-being is very important to us.
Because of this we only allow assistance dogs to the farm. Dogs have the potential to spread worms which, if taken up by the sheep, can kill them. There is also the risk of causing distress to the sheep. Even we do have sheep dogs as we do as we ask rather than cause any arguments.
Farm Plant and Gates
Also, be aware of passing farm machinery and take into account private areas and gates, which are often closed for your safety.
Please don't ignore them!
The days are shorter, weather colder, skies often darker. But then the walks are more refreshing, the air feels cleaner, we get bright, crisp days, and the countryside shows a stark beauty.
Our warm winter log fire
French onion soup
Farmhouse soup of the day, every day we have a wonderful winter warmer, from our range of chunky vegetable, tomato, French onion, all served with a chunky slice of farmhouse loaf.
Jam sponge cake
Or maybe it’s liquid refreshment you need? A warming and relaxing cup of lavender tea could hit the spot, or maybe one of our fruit infusions with a bit of bite to heat you through such as lemon and ginger?
A large selection of Pukka teas
Gareth and Didi are the co-founders of “1 More Tree” an organisation that has been given operational room at the Lavender farm, their objective is to increase and assist in the planting of as many trees as possible. Specialising in some of the rarer trees that need help, they will be developing various tree planting campaigns and exercises both locally and worldwide over the coming years.
Why not ask Gareth when you are at the farm if there is anything you can do, you may well leave with a pot an acorn and a mission!
Planting Habitat Agreement - Staplehurst
On the 27th of August “1 More Tree” signed the first of 3 agreements to plant trees at Staplehurst grange the home of the lavender farm, near Newport.
This first eco planting project will see over 2000 native trees being planted in the lakes area of the farm, planting and management of the project will be handled by new company 1 more tree. Agreements are being drawn up for 1 more tree to sign a further 2 planting agreements as well as an adoption and maintenance agreement for the farms ancient woodlands.
I more tree was set up this year with the single aim to plant as many trees as possible, in order to address the huge problem of deforestation, globally as well as locally on the island.
East of Newport, Isle of Wight
Site Plan Drawins as marked in blue.
- Planned planting area consists of 1.169 Hectares.
- Trees native broadleaf varieties 2.922 trees
- Post and guards on all trees
Bare Root Roses
When you first receive your rose delivery, unwrap them, and inspect for any damage. Then carefully place the root or roots in a cool place to stop growth but with some moisture such as a damp cloth, so that they don’t dry out
As long as there is good wrapping or packing around the roots you can keep them for some time, such as in an empty freezer which is switched off. Keep the top open a tad of the freezer and make sure they are kept moist.
However, if you need to store them for more than say twelve days then I suggest you take them outside and heel them in.
Using this method you can store the bare root for some time, firstly create a trench around twelve inches deep in reasonable soil not too boggy, then lay the roots on their side at a 45 degree angle, cover the root ball with soil and heel them in with your boot, leaving the head of the root exposed.
Be sure to check the trench regularly for moisture and when needed gently ease out each rose for replanting in final destination.
Obviously they should be moved prior to the generation of new root growth as this is easily damaged so a good planting plan should be adopted in order to make certain the roses are given the best chance to thrive.
The Ghostly Monk
The Blacklands - The name alone conjures up thoughts of foul deeds afoot! Prior to Quarr Abbey holding the lands of Arreton Manor, which in turn owned Staplehurst Grange, many issues beheld the area, and in the 13th Century the Abbott of Quarr complained actively that “certain persons had carried away goods”. This led to a ditch being built as a defence between the lands of Briddlesford under control of the Abbey and that of Staplehurst. Piracy and theft were common throughout the island and the Abbey did its best to protect its property.
Then in the 16th century the Grange was purchased by Quarr Abbey as a parcel of the larger Arreton Manor. The expansion of Quarr by buying up these minor manors was a very important part of the Abbey’s development, and the lands were worked daily by both surfs and monks.
The Ghost Workers of Quarr
The Lavender Farm ghosts are said to originate from this time, and are active at dusk when shadowy features can clearly be seen. Looking at the image below there appears to be one of these shadowy forms, a monk slumped next to the steps.
Today this is the office, but in ancient times it was the grain store and built as one unit. Apparently they used to load sacks of grain from the mill cart using a grain hook suspended from a rope and pulley affair. It is said that one day a monk from the Abbey who was doubting his faith while loading the heavy sacks of grain let the hook slip off a sack under tension, which then swung wildly and killed him instantly.
Legend has it that sometimes at dusk you can hear the muffled sound of the old monk doubting his spiritual beliefs, and his ghostly form can be seen collapsed next to the step. Or so the story goes.