The Lavender of Sequim - a book review

The Lavender of Sequim: America's Provence by Bonnie Louise Gillis, published by Books Out Of The Blue, 2019.

Since moving here, I have visited tulip farms, rose, lily, iris and peony gardens but I have yet to see a lavender farm although I have seen signs for them. I have also not ventured any further north than Woodland, Washington although I hope to remedy that soon. 

I have heard of Sequim, Washington because I have a co-worker who once lived there. It is located in the northwest corner of Washington (northeast of Seattle). The Olympic mountains shields the town from getting rainfall and their average is about 12 inches per year.  Early settlers to the area knew they had to do something so they embarked on an ambitious irrigation project to bring water to their town. It worked and they still have an Irrigation Festival every year to celebrate that achievement. Cattle farming became the main economic booster for the next century. In the 1990s, developers began buying property and cattle farms diminished. Thus a new crop and money maker was introduced - lavender.

Part history, part travelogue with a bit of gardening and recipes, this little book is fun to browse through.  It briefly covers the history of Sequim and the development of lavender farms (there are at least a dozen in the town). It also covers the various types of lavender and how to grow and harvest them. There is a resource list and a list of places to visit while in Sequim. The highlight of the book are the stunning photos by Roger Mosley. There are also some wonderful historic photos of Sequim taken during the irrigation development. 

Text and photos by Phillip Oliver, Dirt Therapy


  1. There is a lavender festival in the Sequim area every year, but the traffic is horrendous. You could come up to the Olympic Peninsula for it and stay in the area, it's very picturesque, and Far Reaches Farm is nearby. Does the book tell you how to pronounce Sequim?

    1. Alison, the book does not mention how to pronounce it. My co-worker says it is "SKWIM" so the "Q" sounds like "K".

  2. I have always seen pictures like this of lavender farms in France. It is nice to know that there is lavender being grown here in the states. I would love to see such a sight.

  3. 12 inches a year of rain is slightly less than our average. An interesting place to garden. Must be very grey in the fall and winter--with none of the moisture--I wonder what that is like.


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