Magnificent and enchanting landscapes
Fine lavender is made of dreams. During the flowering season, the delightful patterns and intense blue of the fields offer a spectacular sight of overwhelming beauty. Such is the inimitable landscape at “Le Château du Bois » where the Lincelé family continues to develop its desirable lavender production in a natural and authentic manner. The preservation of these landscapes requires a high level of vigilance due to the constant struggle to protect fine lavender.
For several years fine lavender and lavandin producers have been confronted with the premature loss of their crops owing to the « stolbur phytoplasm «. This pathogenic micro-organism devours the interior of the stem. It is transported by a flying insect, the leafhopper (a small cicada). Contamination leads to the weakening and then the premature loss of the plantations. Instead of being able to produce flowers for a dozen years, the lavender grower is obliged to pull out the plants after four or five years and wait another three years before seedlings become productive. This cycle is too short and very discouraging for the producer, as lavender requires maximal attention at the time it is planted and during the first three years. This problem has been affecting the whole lavender production and was worsened by the drought of 2003. The lavender has become less resistant to bacterial attacks. Technical organisations are studying possible solutions, for example crop rotation (which reduces the reproduction cycle of the leafhoppers) or the use of healthy seedlings and more tolerant lavender and lavandin varieties. These studies have not led to any proven efficacy to date. The use of healthy seedlings is controversial amongst fine lavender growers. This solution obliges the producers to buy seedlings, reducing their autonomy in the supply of their own seeds. »Le Château du Bois » estate prefers a more global approach to try and limit the harm and allow lavender to better defend itself:
- Green manure: in between two plantations a temporary crop of rye, vetch and/or brown mustard allows the soil to rest and be covered all year round.
- Boosting the biological activity of the soil: chipped branch-wood and other covers, such as lavender straw, can stimulate the soil allowing the lavender to better take root.
- Direct seeding: these attempts also encourage the plants to take root whilst preserving our own seeds.
- Biodynamic farming techniques and the use of certain natural preparations.