VISIT a lavender farm and of course you expect to find plenty of the famous scented and medicinal flower, but at Crystal Brook Gardens and Lavender Farm you discover so much more.
Arrive during the lavender season (late spring and summer) and from the moment you exit your vehicle you’re surrounded by the intoxicating, unmistakable perfume of the iconic flower – one moment heady on the breeze and the next fading to just the faintest hint.
However, lavender is not all this charming property in the Southern Tablelands of NSW has to offer. While your olfactory sense takes in the perfume your eyes are drawn to the sight of hundreds of roses, salvias, ornamental trees and in spring, flowering bulbs and Japanese trees in blossom.
Set on 50 acres, of which five acres are commercially planted with lavender and two acres are laid out into a number of themed gardens, Crystal Brook is the vision and passion of Judith and Michael Basile who bought the property 21 years ago to grow ornamental trees.
Recognising the region, with it’s cold winters and heavy frosts, was also perfect for lavender, the couple set off for France to learn more about the plant’s cultivation.
Judith, gave up a successful travel agency business and a career in nursing and nurse teaching to concentrate on Crystal Brook and indulge her passions for gardening and cooking. At 75, she does most of the work around the property with help from her husband at the weekend.
Michael, 77, still works in Sydney as a registered land and engineering surveyor. His passion is Japanese horticulture including bonsai and shaped trees. He distils much of the farm's lavender in a still he built himself; and regularly gives distillation demonstrations.
Crystal Brook is a delight to explore whether you’re a keen gardener, photographer, or just enjoy plants and good food.
There are a variety of themed gardens to stroll through including the Japanese, Australiana, memorial (cottage style), pottage, medieval, French, salvia, parterre and romantic.
Visit at almost any time of the year and there’s something to see. Blossom and bulb flowers in spring, autumn foliage and summer flowers. Only winter is the quiet season and even then there’s the chance to sit in front of an open fire, enjoy a Devonshire tea or lunch made by Judith, try an olfactory workshop, view the artisanal lavender still in operation and browse the garden shop filled with Australian and locally-made products.
The gardens are flat and suitable for people with restricted mobility and those in wheelchairs.
Crystal Brook Gardens and Lavender Farm, Lot 257, Tyrl Tyrl Road, Laggan (turn off the Crookwell to Taralga Road). lavenderatlaggan.weebly.com (02) 4843-3333.