How we got here

img_0270It all started in May 2010.  Ever since Tim and I had been dating, we had always talked about “having something outside of the corporate world”.  We had many ideas along the way and at one point even talked about the idea of a bed & breakfast.  Then, in May 2010, we visited an herb farm – with a focus on lavender.  I came away from that visit with all new ideas and directions.  I mulled the idea of having a lavender farm over and over…and then introduced it to Tim.  We have an over abundant love of plants, growing things, and gardening and once I started looking around our house, I found we already had lavender everywhere – it just made sense.  We had many discussions – would it actually make money?  Would our backs hold up on a farm?  Do we want that much work and labor?  How do we go about doing this?  Where do we find research and resources?  …oh, and don’t forget – are we crazy!??!

 We started researching and learning – all about lavender, how to run a business, how to run a farm, supplies, marketing, demographics, harvestings, producing products – you name it!  That research lead us through several years.  In February 2011, we attended our first lavender conference – a conference all about growing lavender!  We knew no one and came from one of the furthest away places.  I remember being excited to learn and overwhelmed at learning so much.  We met so many people there and formed relationships that are still in place today.

We visited all the farms we could drive to, and even flew across country to a major Lavender Weekend with many farms and festivals.  We attended more conferences and even volunteered on a couple of farms to get experience.  We created a business plan, and tested out products and processes.  We planted a test garden in our yard and even roped my parents into planting one at their house.  We read every article, blog post, and newsletter we could get our hands on.  We talked to those who knew and learned.  We purchased small equipment and future decorations.  We have files of ideas and plans.  We had even picked out a farm name and played with logos!

20140529_100923We also had to figure out “Where?”.  We lived in Maryland and wanted to be closer to our families.  We also wanted land and room to spread out – our backyard was full of plants and gardens!  So, that landed us looking in the upstate of South Carolina – close to both families and several cities.  We knew we’d face growing condition issues (lavender doesn’t like humidity), but if we learned all we could, we would figure out how to make it work.  So, in September, 2010, we contacted a real estate agent and went for our first property search on October 2nd, 2010.  And on December 27th, 2013 we closed on our very own land.  It had been a three year journey that was the beginning to another journey!

In May 2014, we moved to our new land and established Southern Hills Lavender.  We have big ideas for the land and farm and laid everything out in a master plan.   The land hadn’t been maintained in years, so that was the first place to start – clearing, cleaning, pulling up, pulling out.  Then there’s equipment to get, fields to lay out, and land to be prepped. We’ll get 1 acre of lavender planted in Spring 2015.

Our long range plans are for Southern Hills Lavender to be an agri-tourism destination and our mission is to be a place to educate, experience and share nature, growing and this awe-inspiring plant, lavender.  Please take a look around, learn about lavender and follow our journey.  Once the plants are ready (2-3 years), we’ll start making products, selling lavender items, being open to the public, and hosting events.  Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

— Mary B.