the lavender way

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"Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

books, books, books

Books have always played an important part in our lives: Gill is an English Lit. graduate and I am both an avid reader and a writer of modern fiction texts.

When we were setting up the lavender way Gill's first port of call was, of course, the internet but despite the depth and breadth of information available deep, consistent, and verifiable research proved too difficult - especially as we had a dial up internet connexion and intemittent electricity supply in those early days (the modem years as they are now known).

THE TOP REFERENCE WORKS

Consequently, Gill scoured the web looking for recommended reading and came up with Lavender: The Grower's Guide by Virginia McNaughton so we ordered it from Amazon. That was that winter accounted for. It is a veritable mine of lavender knowledge and written and laid out in a clear and easily accessible fashion and is a great resource for both neophytes and the experienced alike.

There were other books, some good, some not so good but eventually we came across the amazing The Genus Lavandula published by the Royal Botanic Gardens. Weighing in at some 420 pages in a large hardback format this is currently the definitive work for those who know their lavender. The publisher's description says "The most comprehensive and authoritative account of lavenders to be published to date; focusing on their worldwide importance as garden plants, and as a mainstay of the perfumery and aromatherapy industries. 39 species, numerous hybrids and almost 400 cultivars are described, bringing together taxonomy, distribution, history and cultivation. Illustrated with 31 full page colour paintings, numerous colour photographs, line drawings and distribution maps." and as far as we are concerned it is all of those and more.

It was the cameraman who shot the first documentary at our farm who mentioned, in passing, that what we were doing reminded him of the methods espoused by Masanobu Fuluoka who is widely credited with introducing theideas of sustainable eco-friendly agriculture to the world. Nobody who grows anything should fail to read his book - The One Straw Revolution .

TOP FICTION

There is little fiction published about organic lavender farms in Crete. But not none.

For literary fiction about the kind of life change and cultural change that we undertook in setting out for Crete and setting up the lavender way the obvious forebear would probably be either Peter Mayles' A Year in Provence or perhaps the rather better Attic in Greece by Austen Kark.

I, however, am no canonical writer and take my formal inspirations from modernism, post-modernism and English experimental writing of the 1960s and it was in the spirit of literary adventure that I started work on documenting the beginnings of the lavender way. For two years I laboured every day to produce what you get in "the lavender way - the modem years". Once described thus: " … if Gilbert Sorrentino had written A Year in Provence it might have been something like this text …" Most of my writings are available in electronic formats but this is available in print from LuLu - click here to go there.

OTHER REFERENCE WORKS

There are other books that remain on our shelves - see the pile above - after all these years and they are all consulted occasionally. No book that will not be used again stays on our bookshelves.