Before moving to the Pacific Northwest, our family spent 4 years in Northern Virginia — land of icy winters, hot & humid summers, pleasant springtime and beautiful autumns. Since I am fond of winter, that made for a “3 out of 4 ain’t bad” situation.
(We won’t discuss my husband’s long commute to and from work.)
It was there in Virginia that I met my friend Cyndie, grower and purveyor of close to fifty varieties of lavender. She has other plants in her garden, too, but lavender is her hallmark.
Blooming Hill is the lovely home and business of Cyndie Rinek. These photos that I took last spring don’t show the additional garden beds that she & her family have been working on this year, but they do give a taste of the beautiful place available for you to see if you happen to drive out to the scenic western end of Loudoun County.
My official visit to the gardens was on a sun-kissed May morning in 2011. A late spring breeze blew the lavender stems beguilingly to and fro, making it difficult for me to capture their beauty with my camera.
Western Loudoun County feels like a world away from Washington, D.C., although it takes less than 2 hours to drive from the cherry blossom-strewn Tidal Basin and tourist-packed National Mall to the rural peacefulness of Blooming Hill.
Let’s go inside, shall we?
Not only are the garden beds lovely to tour, but the gift shop is chock-full of beautiful items I would be proud to call my own — Peter’s wreaths and paintings, and Cyndie’s lavender gifts among them.
Cyndie’s husband Peter is a landscape architect who built this adorable gift shop. He also helps to fill it! He is the one who creates the wreaths of eucalyptus and pussy-willow; he also is the artist of the folk art prints & paintings of local villages.
Cyndie has been busy sewing lavender sachets this past winter. My favorite (as seen on her own blog) is one with the British saying, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Very little can calm me as sweetly and easily as a lavender sachet.
Check the Blooming Hill blog for special events throughout the season — perhaps you could pair a visit with a winery tour or the Loudoun County Farm Tour this spring. A special treat would be to make reservations for one of the high teas available to the general public (see Cyndie’s blog for details). Opening day this year is Friday, April 13, 2012.
Blooming Hill is open Fridays and Saturdays, 10am until 5pm, mid-April through mid-December and other days by appointment or request. Contact information is available on their website. You can also look for the owners at various fairs and shows throughout the growing season.
Please let me know if you go!