Somewhere after the beautiful cactus flowers of January, those that bloom in the deserts soon after the start of the new year, but before the mountains are lush with lupine beauty, other flowers make a spectacular appearance in southern California.
And while these specimens run the glorious gamut, from April’s brilliant poppies season in Antelope Valley to the cultivated colors of The Flower Fields in Carlsbad, May may be our purest time of year.
Look up at the jacaranda trees around Los Angeles and watch places like Cherry Valley and Ojai as they prepare for their full-scale lavender seasons.
Lavender, yes, is something of a June spectacle, but some of the fragrant superstar-inspired festivities start early, all to delight lavender lovers who just can’t wait another time for an herb-heavy adventure.
123 Farm at Highland Springs Ranch & Inn understands our love of lav-y, making it one of the best regional powerhouse-themed road-trip spots.
So get excited, if the amethyst-hued expanses make your heart beat a little faster: The Lavender Festival opens at the Cherry Valley Agricultural Center, “the largest organic lavender farm in Southern California” , Friday, May 6.
Important to know? The period from May 6 to 22 is considered the “pre-bloom” period, which means that admission is free during this window (note that parking is additional).
If you choose to visit in mid-May, you can enjoy the other lavender-themed delights, like food and shopping, but not the blooming fields.
Again, the fields will be rather lavender-free until the end of May 2022, if you want to wait, but stop until May 22? Again, completely free (but show up with funds for food and shopping, if you wish.)
But get excited: Lavender flowers will start blooming in late May, and in June and early July?
Photogenic flowers should look quite hardy.
Guided tours, the chance to snack on festive lavender-scented foods and shop in the market, which is festooned with great finds, are part of the event, which is open, on select days, until July 31. 2022.
You’ll need to book a ticket before you go, even if you’re visiting during the free period. Fridays and weekend days after May 22 will cost a few dollars more than entering on a weekday.
Learn what to expect before you reserve your spot and also read the parking fees.
The site also offers an extensive menu of lavender dishes, including a Lavender Braised Beef Brisket Sandwich, Lavender Falafel Burger, and Lavender Strawberry Funnel Cake.
And browse the organic shop? This too can be previewed on the 123 Farm site.