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See and smell lavender at Newcastle Farms

Open Farm Days feature the flowering herb at peak of bloom

Visit Newcastle Lavender during Open Farm Days and enjoy the sights and smells of lavender.

Visit Newcastle Lavender during Open Farm Days and enjoy the sights and smells of lavender. Photo courtesy Newcastle Lavender Farms

Love lavender? Then this opportunity is for you. Here’s a chance to immerse yourself in blooming lavender – and take some home, too.

Friday through Sunday, June 16 to 18, Newcastle Lavender Farms will open its fields to the public during Open Farm Days. Admission is $12 per person, including one bundle of fresh-cut lavender. Additional fresh-cut lavender bundles are available for purchase.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day, roam the rows of intensely fragrant blossoms. Pose for photos among the flowers. Watch bees at work, gathering pollen.

Lavender season hits its peak of bloom in June and early July. According to a recent report, lavender ranks as California’s favorite flower, based on Google searches. Its fragrance is believed to promote relaxation.

Planted in 2016, this farm grows ‘Grosso’ lavender, a hybrid known for its tall dark blue spikes.

Newcastle Lavender Farms is located at 2450 Paddock Lane, Newcastle, about 30 minutes from downtown Sacramento. Owned and operated by the Stanphill family, the farms are open for photo events and special occasions. The farms produce a wide variety of lavender products, available at Little Bird Mercantile in Auburn as well as directly from Newcastle Lavender.

“Our farm will open for visitors on select days starting in June through the beginning of July during peak bloom season,” the family posted online. “We welcome you to come experience our peaceful setting, wander our fields, enjoy a picnic and shop our farm store. Food and Refreshment Trucks available most days. We offer a variety of lavender products along with our fresh cut and dried lavender bundles and buds.

“We will also offer this year, wreath-making classes taught by our friend and well-known artist, Dori with Everything’s Hunky Dori,” they added. “These classes will be held in our shady meadow and we will provide all the fresh lavender and supplies needed for you to make your own handcrafted wreath to take home. There are morning and evening sessions to choose from. Bring a group or meet some new friends. Refreshments served.”

Additional Open Farm Days are planned Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through July 2, or until the lavender flowers finish their bloom.

For advance tickets, class reservations and directions: www.newcastlelavender.com.

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Dig In: Garden Checklist for week of April 7

The warm wave coming this week will shift weeds into overdrive. Get to work!

* Weed, weed, weed! Whack them before they flower.

* Mulch around plants to conserve moisture and control weeds.

* Smell orange blossoms? Feed citrus trees with a low dose of balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) during bloom to help set fruit. Keep an eye out for ants.

* Apply slow-release fertilizer to the lawn.

* Thoroughly clean debris from the bottom of outdoor ponds or fountains.

* Spring brings a flush of rapid growth, and that means your garden is really hungry. Feed shrubs and trees with a slow-release fertilizer. Or mulch with a 1-inch layer of compost.

* Azaleas and camellias looking a little yellow? If leaves are turning yellow between the veins, give them a boost with chelated iron.

* Trim dead flowers but not leaves from spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils and tulips. Those leaves gather energy to create next year's flowers. Also, give the bulbs a fertilizer boost after bloom.

* Pinch chrysanthemums back to 12 inches for fall flowers. Cut old stems to the ground.

* From seed, plant beans, beets, cantaloupes, carrots, corn, cucumbers, melons, radishes and squash. Plant onion sets.

* In the flower garden, plant seeds for asters, cosmos, celosia, marigolds, salvia, sunflowers and zinnias. Transplant petunias, zinnias, geraniums and other summer bloomers.

* Plant perennials and dahlia tubers for summer bloom. April is about the last chance to plant summer bulbs, such as gladiolus and tuberous begonias.

* Transplant lettuce and cabbage seedlings.

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