Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme… and lavender. Lots and lots of lovely lavender! Yes, it’s time for CyHerbia’s annual celebration of this queen among herbs which, in the language of flowers, stands for luck, success and happiness – and who doesn’t want a bit more of that? Encapsulating the essence of the Mediterranean, this floral Festival is a carnival of landscaped lavender gardens, a lavender labyrinth, and lavender essential oil distillation.
Running from June 10 to 25, this year sees the sixth iteration of a festival which began even before CyHerbia itself opened! “We started the Lavender Festival even before the botanical park was open to the public,” explains owner and horticultural expert Miranda Tringis, “for the simple reason that all this beauty and aroma just had to be shared with others! A plant of such exquisite beauty and with so many benefits deserves to be celebrated,” she continues. “Lavender is without a doubt, the queen of herbs…”
Today, six years on, the annual festival is attended each year by hundreds of lavender lovers. “Several thousand people, both locals and tourists, have visited our previous festivals, and each year we see an increase in numbers,” says Miranda. “According to previous visitor comments, the experience is a magical, otherworldly. Locals often tell us they cannot believe a garden like this exists in Cyprus…”
Lavandula Angustifolia, or English lavender, is the species which takes over CyHerbia each June. Known as the most aromatic and therapeutic of its type, the plant also provides the best quality essential oil, and visitors will be able to witness the process of essential oil extraction in the purpose-built distillation room. “The daily extraction of essential oil and presentations are informative, fun and fabulously fragrant!” Miranda reveals. “We give a lot of information about lavender during the fest so visitors will learn how to use it for their health and wellbeing: it’s calming and combats anxiety and stress, it helps in headaches, colds, insomnia, stomach ailments and skin problems, and it keeps the mosquitoes away! Lavender is also under-used in cooking, so in our samplings and during the cooking demonstration we show how to use these happy flowers in the kitchen.”
With the gardens in full bloom, the whole family can experience the magic of this plant: taking long walks around the site, participating in various creative workshops and activities, and learning all about lavender’s benefits and uses. There’s also lavender craft-making for kids, along with a special treasure hunt every day of the festival.
“The highlight, however, is definitely the lavender labyrinth walk, an experience that is totally unique in Cyprus and not to be missed,” Miranda discloses. “The experience of walking among the lavender and being surrounded by the colours and aroma is breath-taking; it’s like a purple sea!” she enthuses, adding that visitors will also be able to lose themselves in the silence of the high-hedged maze, take a peaceful woodland walk or simply enjoy the herb gardens.
While creative folk of all ages can once again enjoy taking part in the craft workshops, this year sees a number of new additions to the programme. On June 18, CyHerbia is hosting a full day labyrinth workshop, in which participants can discover more about sacred geometry, the history and purpose of a labyrinth, and join in a group meditation. And all three weekends of the festival will see ‘cooking with lavender’ demonstrations and smudge stick-making workshops. However, should your bent be more towards a quiet satiation of the soul – and perhaps the stomach! – then a peaceful walk through the gardens will be perfectly complemented by the fresh produce on sale in the delightful on-site café, where the theme of the festival continues with a selection of drinks, cakes and sorbets all made with lavender.
“This is a festival which is unforgettable, unique and utterly fragrant!” Miranda concludes. “There’s simply nothing that lifts the spirits more than spending time around this gorgeous plant, wandering the gardens and watching the butterflies and bees move from one flower to another!”
The Lavender Festival
From June 10 to 25 at CyHerbia Gardens in Avgorou, between the hours of 9am and 8pm. Entrance to the park is €5 for adults / €3 for children, and includes ice tea tasting and samplings of lavender goodies, as well as the presentations and activities for children. For more information and a full programme of events, call 99 915 443 or visit http://cyherbia.com or the Facebook page ‘CyHerbia’