What if growing Lavender was not just a hobby or a job, but a way of life?
My friends Gill and Derek Pearce at The Lavender Way (in Crete) are making it just that! They grow Lavender plants and olive trees, and they are so dedicated to growing organically, with all respect for the plants’ natural processes, that it seems the plants have cultivated Gill and Derek’s lives—instead of the other way around!
Before they started The Lavender Way, Gill and Derek lived in England, where they had much faster-paced lifestyles as IT professionals. They are the kinds of people who are in tune with themselves, and they knew they wanted a very different way of life. So they left their IT jobs (and England!) behind, and moved to Crete, where they settled in a house on an olive grove.
Now they grow Lavender and olives with no pesticides, no herbicides, no fungicides, no fertilizers . . . they don’t even till the land or use power tools!
They grow their plants in concentric circles, so that the plants can protect one another, and they use hand tools for pruning, weeding, and harvesting, so as to cause the least damage possible to the plants.
How can they do that, you might ask?
On their website, they explain (they’re talking about pruning olive trees here):
“We tried a chainsaw in the early years but soon became convinced that chainsaws produce a trauma response in the trees. Handsaws are slower and are harder physical work, but such work is a strangely meditative task. Pruning entirely by hand gives us longer to consider the pruning task in both tree and grove holistic perspectives. And having eschewed the chainsaw for pruning we now even log by hand.”
The only power tool on the farm is a mulch chipper.
They use as much solar power as possible, and in the winter their heat comes from a wood burning stove fueled by olive logs.
This kind of dedication to serving the plants is so inspiring!
I had the opportunity to visit Gill and Derek several years ago and fell in love with their place! It felt like I was meeting old friends.
They gave me a tour (they have a gorgeous view of the Aegean), and we shared a wonderful lunch, and talked for hours. We learned so much about one another’s work, and to this day we remain fast friends.
Gill and Derek are true stewards of the land and the plants, giving them space to grow and protecting them without forcing anything to happen.
Their Lavender essential oils, hydrosols, spritzers, and hand crafts (such as eye pillows and sachets) are made with love, attention, and respect. They sell their products at local shops.
And that’s how you live The Lavender Way! We might not all be able to live so organically, but we can visit their website and look at their pictures. Gill also has some great tips for growing Lavender as organically and holistically as possible.