Mercury – Hitchin Lavender in the Limelight on BBC Show “Great British Garden Revival”

Lavender was back in the spotlight this week when it featured on a TV series exploring the nation’s gardening heritage.

In Monday’s episode of the BBC show Great British Garden Revival, host Diarmuid Gavin visited Hitchin Lavender at Cadwell Farm.

Charting the rise and fall of the flower’s popularity, Mr Gavin explored the 20 acres of lavender with Alec Hunter and his son Tim, 37, who now runs the farm with his wife, Maria-Noel, 35.

Tim said: “It was fantastic – great exposure for us and Hitchin. We are very privileged to be seen to be reviving lavender.

“I think people are going back to it. It was wrongly associated before the last five or ten years with the Victorian era and elderly folk because of its medicinal qualities.”

He continued: “In the Hitchin area it dates back to the 1600s. Hitchin was famous for it – that’s one of the reasons we started growing it again, but we know also the land is fairly good for it round here.

“It’s fairly chalky and the slope helps with the drainage. We have owned this farm for five generations so thought it would be good to put one of the fields in lavender. That was in 2000.”

Since Mr Hunter’s parents Alec and Zoe first replanted lavender, the popularity of the farm has grown to the extent that Hitchin Lavender has become an entity of its own.

Visiting the farm, Mr Gavin said: “It’s quite amazing that just outside of London, really, anybody can come along and pick a bag of lavender.

“It’s really come on leaps and bounds. It fits in perfectly with this idea of reviving lavender in our gardens and as an industry.”

Speaking to the Mercury, Tim said: “They wanted to know about the history of lavender and a bit about the enterprise now and the day-to-day running of it.

“They wanted to know how we were reviving interest in lavender. In the 60s and 70s it fell out of fashion and they stopped growing it in the late 60s in Hitchin.

“In its heyday there was about 180 acres of lavender in Hitchin. There is certainly more interest in it now, because I think a lot of people are going back to nature.”

Hitchin’s appearance on the Great British Garden Revival will be available to watch online for 28 days at:
www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer