Lavender's the Star in Ojai

The purple plant shows up in soaps, crafts, and more.

NOT A TRICK QUESTION: If you happen to live on a block or street with a lot of flowering plants, what's the one green thing you find touching the most, the better to enjoy the scent? Is it rosemary? Maybe. Is it something like sage? That definitely smells great. But we have a theory that lavender is the most loved-upon of all the flowering, odoriferous plants. Maybe those purple tops attract us, like they do the bees, or maybe the fact that the stalks are easily bent toward the sidewalk (where they may be smelled more freely). We like to believe, though, that lavender rocks a true star status on every level. That's it's attraction: It's the herb we're most likely to find in soaps and sachets and honeys and shampoos and cleaners and scones and just about anything that can be bettered by a strong, spicy scent and a full flavor. (We almost just typed "lavendery scent" there, which would have been a bit obvious, but then again, it is hard to describe lavender's scent as anything but lavendery.) Ojai is the local California place with all of the lovely lavender ties -- New Oak Ranch is there, which grows the purple-green-grey goodness, and the city hosts a lavender festival each summer. And while New Oak is closed for 2013, the better to "re-work all the lavender fields," the Ojai Valley Lavender Festival is going ahead.

AND THE LAVENDER LOVE KICKS OFF ON... Saturday, June 29 in Libbey Park. Nope, Libbey Park is not a lavender field, so do not arrive expecting to be immersed in a wave of purple. But lavender will be all around in the forms of potpourri, perfumes, sachets, and live plants. It's a sweet way to spotlight a bit of local nature, a plant that grows well in Ojai's most excellent Mediterranean-type climate. Hmm. Now that we think of it, do you think that the city's famous nightly "Pink Moment" lends to all of that purple power in the lavender fields? The poet in us, small as she is, wants to say yes.

The 10th annual Ojai Valley Lavender Festival gets growing on Saturday, June 29.

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