majestic rolling acres, a love for gardening and a vision, Jim and
Debbie McDowell have created a relaxing garden retreat just north of the
quaint town of Chappell Hill.
After several years of traffic, congestion and the corporate community
of Houston, they set their sights on a quiet, serene lifestyle far away
from the hustle and bustle of metropolitan living. You might be
surprised that their previous business careers could evolve into
something so different, but they both say the journey was well worth it.
“We didn’t know exactly what we wanted to do with our land, but we knew
its charm and appeal were qualities that we wanted to capture and share
with others”, says Debbie McDowell.
With numerous hours of intense study and research, they found that
lavender growing would not only complement their surroundings but
offered a relaxing and soothing environment that reflected the new
lifestyle that they had come to appreciate.
The couple started out initially by planting approximately 600 plants to
“test the waters” with the particular soil and climate in their area. As
they saw the plants grow and flourish, they planted another 600 plants
six months later.
“Now don’t be misled”, says Jim McDowell, “it’s not all fun and
games..…the maintenance and manual labor alone has been overwhelming,
and we have had our ups and downs with weather conditions and rain.
Overall though, it’s been a pleasure watching our plants mature and
produce the beautiful long lavender spikes”.
They both agree however, that it’s labor intensive and not for everyone.
In October 2004,
another 1500 plants went into the ground making a total of 3000
plants. By the end of 2005, most of the plants were fully matured. All
of the plants are now producing anywhere from 100 to 400 blooms per
plant during the blooming season which begins in August and continues
through November. With the harvested lavender blooms they have
introduced handmade lavender products such as soaps, lotions, bath gels
and sachets not to mention lavender tea, lavender roast coffee and
lavender lemonade which are all sold in their gift shop, “The
If you’re looking for a
relaxing day trip excursion, you won’t want to pass up the
opportunity to experience the beauty and charm of this delightful farm
and gift shop. There is no admission to visit the farm and tour groups
are welcome. The McDowell’s invite you to take a break and enjoy the
serenity that awaits you at Chappell Hill Lavender Farm!