Pulling off the highway six kilometres short of Kingaroy at Pottique’s Lavender Farm, it is difficult to imagine the little oasis that awaits.
The first thing you notice, well before stopping, is a house with a steep-pitched roof that looks distinctly European. The house belongs to Anne and Lyndsay McBride, the owners of the Pottique, and although it is a bit out of place here in the South Burnett, it is an intriguing building which whets the appetite for a European experience.
Surrounding the buildings which make up the business are meandering gardens, luscious green lawns, climbing wisteria, and quaint scenes of potted wheelbarrows and pottery, all encompassed by the broad, protective limbs of the silky oak trees. It is a scene that transports you to another corner of the world, giving a moment’s sigh of relief from the drought that lingers just beyond the gardens.
Pottique started out some 30 years ago as a place to make and sell pottery. Having grown up next door, Anne had a unique insight into the local area. She knew exactly what was missing from the local market and happily filled that gap with handmade pottery. By adding a mix of English antiques to the collection of homemade pottery she created a unique place for locals and tourists alike to do a spot of gift shopping and have a cup of tea.
Chancing upon lavender fields in Norfolk, UK, while on holidays hunting for antiques, gave her the first hint of inspiration for the reinvention some years later. The first row of lavender was planted in 1994, and this year marks Pottique’s 20th year of operation.
Although a small-scale operation, the diversity of products that owners Anne and Lyndsay create from the essential oil of the harvest is impressive, ranging from soap, body lotion and face cream to heat packs and eye masks. Just by looking at Annie’s perfectly smooth, glowing skin it is easy to be convinced of the flower’s secret powers! Those keen to take the lavender experience a step further can try the homemade lavender syrup or liqueur (perfect over ice or a few drops in a glass of sparkling wine). I am hoping drinking the lavender liqueur is as effective as using the face cream ¬ if that’s the case my daily skin regime will include a lavender bellini before dinner each night.
The list of uses and benefits of lavender oil is extensive to say the least. Not only does it keep you relaxed and help you sleep, the oil also acts as an anti-inflammatory, helping to sooth nappy rash, acne, sunburn and insect bites, to name but a few of its healing properties.
Visitors can while away an afternoon at Pottique with a plate of homemade lavender scones and tea before foraging through the two huge rooms full of locally-made and imported homewares, or picking your own lavender stems. The wonderful gardens are a testament to the creativity and attention to detail of Anne and Lyndsay.
Words and images by Alice Lindley