As sunnier skies approach us, the sights and smells of lavender can’t be far away either.
Local author Bonnie Louise Gillis looks to make lavender a part of your collection year-round with her newest book “The Lavender of Sequim: America’s Provence.”
Gillis’ book features 95 images of local lavender and its farms by Roger Mosley and other photographers.
“The book is part garden inspiration, part lavender primer and part travel guide,” she said. “This book gives people compelling reasons to choose Sequim over other lavender destinations.”
Gillis said local farmers have done so much for lavender in the U.S. that lavender farms are popping up in every state.
“But this is the only place in our country where you can see a dozen farms in one day,” she said.
“We have 150 varieties growing here. It’s like Napa Valley and its wine but with lavender.”
“The Lavender of Sequim” went on sale March 15 and is on sale at local lavender farms and retailers across the Olympic Peninsula and in the Sequim area.
“The exciting part of this book, for me, is that all the lavender growers are included,” Gillis said.
Gillis noted when she owned a bed and breakfast, she often heard confusion and misconceptions about the lavender destinations.
“This book is written from the perspective of what travelers want to know, without any bias toward one (lavender) association or the other,” she said.
“I was delighted to feel the support of each farmer.”
Gillis partners with Mosley, who has photographed the Olympic Peninsula’s backcountry for years, to profile more than a dozen farms.
“His photos spoke to me,” she said. “He has an artist’s eye and a consistent attention to detail.”
The book features some photos by other photographers, too, including some by Gillis.
Along with exquisite photos, “The Lavender of Sequim” features recipes, farmers’ favorites, an insight into essential lavender oils, tips for harvesting and drying lavender, lodging and shopping for lavender tips and the history of Sequim’s lavender.
This is Gillis’ first foray into self-publishing after authoring 27 pictorial gift books and sales of nearly 400,000 copies.
With help from the City of Sequim’s Tourism Enhancement Grant, Gillis plans to market the book beyond the peninsula and pursue annual reprints of the book with updated, relevant information for visitors.
With more locations to come, “The Lavender of Sequim: America’s Provence,” can be found in Sequim at the Sequim Visitor Information Center, Purple Haze Lavender Shop, The Co-op Farm & Garden, Nelson’s Duckpond & Lavender Farm, Nash’s Farm Store, Sunny Farms Country Store, and in the Port Angeles area at Washington Lavender, Olympic Cellars Winery, Port Book & News, Odyssey Bookshop and the Airport Garden Center. It’s also available on Amazon. It costs $18.95.
Gillis plans to do several book signings in the coming months, with her first scheduled at the Sequim Irrigation Festival’s Innovative Arts & Crafts Fair at the Sequim Civic Center on May 4-5. She has several signings set up at lavender farms in July, too.