When thinking about Maui, several things come to mind such as breezy beach days, The Sugar Cane Train, Maui Gold pineapples, wind surfing and fresh fish. After reading this blog post, hopefully you will think of lavender in a whole new light and explore the gardens at Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm while visiting Maui. The first part of the adventure, is the scenic drive up Haleakala to the small town of Kula, sitting at 4,ooo feet. Upon approaching the farm, I thought there was fog in the air and then realized that we were sitting in a cloud looking down on the ocean. We visited the gardens in October when the lavender was not as vibrant in color but the weather was nice and cool. Kula has a Mediterranean climate consisting of drought-like conditions with a light mist, which allows the lavender to bloom year round. Kula has an average rainfall of just 25 inches per year which is surprising given its green glow. Lavender is not native to Maui, so how did it flourish into these gardens? Ali’i Chang grew up with his grandmother on a 20-acre farm on Oahu where he learned how to plant, prune, farm and fertilize. In 1989, he purchase a protea farm in Kula filled with gardens and flowers. Ali’i was given lavender in 2001 by and friend and decided to plant it on the farm, which flourished in the climate that Kula offers. The rest is history.
The lavender flowers have a spiral shape and are held on stems, rising above the leaf. Some of the lavender plants display leaves with colored flowers at the end of the stem which are blue, violet or lilac in color and sometimes even blackish purple or yellowish.
Did you know that Lavandula (lavender) is a herb and is part of the mint family? Lavender is commonly found in Cape Verde, Canary Islands, Europe, northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. The benefits of lavender….the plant is grown primarily for the production of essential oil, offering antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Lavender is mixed with herbs such as chamomile in aromatherapy. Lavender, when consumed in capsules, is used to assist with alleviating anxiety and sleep issues due to the high percentage of linalool and linalyl acetate. Lavender honey is created from bees feeding on lavender plants and is believed to help in preventing wounds from infection. Lavender flowers, once dried and sealed in bags, provide a fresh fragrance and deter moths.
Let the Lavender Treasure Hunt Begin
Admission to the farm is only $3.00 per person with discounts offered to local residents, seniors and military. Children 12 and younger are free. In October, the farm was offering free admission with a canned food item to support a local drive. Daily guided tours are available for $5.00 per person. We opted to walk around on our own, taking in the lavender aroma while exploring! Pick up a treasure hunt card in the store and wander around collecting stamps throughout the botanical gardens. After all of the stamps are collected, go inside the store and collect your goodie. The Lavender Treasure Hunt is a fun way to view the various gardens along beautifully landscaped walking paths. The farm has the most amazing overlooks and ocean views. The crisp air makes for a cool stroll, stopping along the way to take pictures of exotic, tropical flowers, plants and trees. The 13.5 acre farm includes 55,000 lavender plants and 45 different varieties of lavender.
Saving the best for last….Lavender tea & scones!!! In an effort to promote sustainability, the lavender farm will generously provide a complementary cup of lavender tea or coffee when customers bring their own cup. There’s something to be said for sitting on the lanai, overlooking the gardens, while toasting lavender scones in cool, crisp weather and smothering them with butter and lilikoi jam.
Be sure to check out the gift shop on your way out. You will find unique items such as Lavender Raspberry Panna Cotta mix, bath & body products, teas & coffees, honey & jams, scone & brownie mixes, travel sets, jewelry, candles & soaps, essential oils, seasonings, aromatherapy and apparel.
$$ Saving Tips: We picked up the map at the General Store and decided to tour the gardens on our own, saving $5.00 per person. Research the property beforehand to ensure that you are not missing valuable information that may have been provided on the tour. Read signs along the way which indicate the plant types. Bring your own coffee mug to receive a cup of FREE lavender coffee or tea. This was a highlight of the trip to do with my daughter and dear friends. Create your own high tea memories for the simple cost of a scone.
Don’t forget to bring your friends & family for a relaxing stroll through Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm