The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Just bloom­ing lovely

The Lock­yer Val­ley’s best will be on show at the Lai­d­ley Quilt and Craft Expo, in­clud­ing some sweet laven­der


ANNE Young is lucky to have hun­dreds of laven­der plants to make her craft.

But you only need one bush in your gar­den to get started on some won­der­ful craft items com­bin­ing sewing, your imag­i­na­tion, and even a bit of time in the kitchen.

The Lock­yer Val­ley farmer and hus­band Gary will be at the Lai­d­ley Quilt and Craft Expo in Septem­ber show­ing off their wares and re­veal­ing some of the se­crets be­hind us­ing the fra­grant flow­ers.

Anne and Gary op­er­ate Holm­wood Pro­duce, a prop­erty in Thorn­ton in the Lock- yer Val­ley, and make a range of laven­der-based prod­ucts.

Anne says us­ing your home laven­der bush (or buy­ing bunches from the flower mar­kets) is a great way to get started, but first up, you’ll need to dry your flow­ers cor­rectly.

“To dry your laven­der, cut the stems and hang a bunch up­side down un­til they dry,’’ Anne says. “The oil col­lects at the base of the flower so when you hang them up­side down you are keep­ing the oil within the flow­ers.

“Once they are dry, brush the heads un­der your hands and you’ll get the pods.’’

Turn these pods into fra­grant moth-re­pel­lent sa­chets, drawer re­fresh­ers, or eye masks. For eye masks, you can mix 50/50 laven­der to lin­seed (from the su­per­mar­ket).

For a warm­ing heat pack that you can put in the mi­crowave, try 50/50 laven­der to dried wheat (pur­chased from the pro­duce store) or bar­ley (from the su­per­mar­ket).

Stitch this mix­ture up into some beau­ti­ful fab­ric and you have an item to warm sore mus­cles.

Freez­ing the wheat, lin­seed or bar­ley for a few days be­fore us­ing it is a good way to kill off any bugs, Anne ad­vises.

Pantry moths can be re­pelled us­ing a 50/50 mix of laven­der and cloves.

But it wasn’t al­ways about laven­der for Anne and Gary.

“We started off with olives be­cause they grow quite readi- ly in the val­ley, and I read that laven­der is a good com­pan­ion plant,’’ Anne says.

Two big floods in the past five years means all their plants are newly planted.

One acre of laven­der is un­der pro­duc­tion, with va­ri­eties such as French laven­der, Lavendin (a hy­brid be­tween French and English), and a spring-bloom­ing laven­der, to cover all of the flow­er­ing sea­sons.

Anne and Gary will be joined at the expo by many other lo­cal crafters giv­ing demon­stra­tions in quilting, needle­work and more.

Now in its 31st year, the expo is the cen­tre­piece of the Lock­yer Val­ley Spring Fes­ti­val, which is held at Lai­d­ley and in-

cludes dis­plays of vintage trucks and en­gines and an orchid show, as well as plenty of craft stalls. Quilt Expo, Unit­ing Church Com­plex, 45 Pa­trick St, Lai­d­ley (ad­mis­sion adults $3, chil­dren 50c), Septem­ber 10-11 (9am-4.30pm), Septem­ber 12 (9am-3pm).


 ??  ?? PUR­PLE HAZE: Gary and Anne Young at Holm­wood laven­der farm in the Lock­yer Val­ley. Pic­ture: Mark Cranitch
PUR­PLE HAZE: Gary and Anne Young at Holm­wood laven­der farm in the Lock­yer Val­ley. Pic­ture: Mark Cranitch
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