People taking pictures of lavender in the Lavender Garden

Monthly Self-guided Walking Tour

July Walking Tour – Chatfield Farms' Lavender Collection

By Shealyn Elstein, Horticulturist 

Things are a little different this summer at Chatfield Farms with construction underway for our Master Development Plan. With that comes a new, temporary entrance to our Lavender Garden, located on the east side of the garden.

  • As you approach the lavender, lift your nose and smell the sweet, herbal and even citrusy scents. Linalyl acetate, limonene and camphor are three aromatic compounds in lavender responsible for its smell. Each variety of lavender holds a different combination of these compounds. Chatfield Farms hosts 25 different varieties across the garden fields and borders, and each one has a slightly different scent.
  • Sweet smelling Lavandula angustifolia (English lavender) will lead you up the pathway to your right and through rows of aromatic mounds. Walk between the rows and be sure to smell plants from neighboring rows as well. Which variety smells sweetest?
  • Approach the end of this field and take another long sniff. You may notice a subtle change of scent. The perpendicular rows of Lavandula × intermedia (lavandin) to your left have a stronger and more herbal smell. Look for ‘Riverina Thomas’, ‘Super’ and ‘Edelweiss’ varieties. Here the smell is reminiscent of a lavender-scented cleaning product. Lavandin is a hybrid species of lavender that has higher traces of camphor, giving it a medicinal scent rather than a sweet one.
  • Finish your stroll through the eastern fields and approach the Butterfly House. Around this seasonal covered hoop house, you will find an array of companion plants and shrubs. All the perennials in this garden complement lavender's color and growth habits. Hidden among these xeric companion plants are several Lavandula angustifolia ‘Maillette’ plants. Find a Maillette lavender near the pathway and breathe in the aroma. This variety contains higher amounts of linalyl acetate and therefore smells even sweeter.
  • Continue moving toward the fields on the western side of the garden. One of the varieties here was cultivated with higher traces of limonene. Because of this, it will smell more citrus-like than any other variety in the collection. Can you find the citrus-scented lavender?

Be sure to catch the plants in full bloom nearing mid-July. Better yet, come back for the annual Lavender Festival on Saturday and Sunday, July 20 and 21.

The lavender will be harvested during the last two weeks of July, so don’t wait too long to bring your nose for a visit this summer.

Gallery photos by Scott Dressel-Martin and Shealyn Elstein (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Maillette’)

Sign up for our e-newsletters!