Blanco calls itself the “Lavender Capital of Texas,” trademarked from 2004 and made official by the Texas legislature in 2005. Blanco hosts a Lavender Festival and the Hill Country has a new Lavender Trail (similar to its Wine Trail). The idea came from the lavender plants found in France, in a region with a similar climate to the Texas Hill Country.
Texas Department of Agriculture - Texas Yes!
Blanco “Lavender Capital of Texas”
Where You’ll Find It:
Hill Country Region; on the beautiful Blanco River. (Blanco County)
Texans Who Call This Home:
Blanco is a prime example of a small town in the Texas Hill Country. Independent and proud, friendly and loyal, citizens of Blanco personify the best in Texas hospitality.
Did You Know:
In 1853 pioneer stockmen built cabins along the Blanco River near the present town site and prepared to defend themselves against Indian attacks. Until 1858, when the county was re-divided, Blanco was named Pittsburgh. In 1860, the first courthouse was built on the public square for about $600.
Civil War Living History Day: April
Blanco Lavender Festival: May
Blanco Heritage Days: September
Courthouse Lighting on the Square: November
Blanco State Park
Area lavender farms
Old Blanco County Courthouse
Blanco Lavender Festival
The Blanco Chamber of Commerce will host the second annual Blanco Lavender Festival on June 9-10, 2007. The lavender blooming season generally runs May through July.
During the festival, nine farms will be open to the public for tours and cutting lavender blooms.
Admission to the farms is free.
Some farms are newly planted; others are well established. Visitors will be able to see the lavender farming industry in different stages of development. Since all farms are within 20 minutes driving distance, visitors can stop at several in one day. Each farm will offer activities and events related to lavender, such as classes in aromatherapy and demonstrations of lavender oil distillation.
During both days of the festival weekend, a lavender market will be set up on the grounds of the historic Old Blanco County Courthouse. Vendors and artists from across the Hill Country will sell lavender-related products as well as other types of fine crafts and gifts. Educational programs on lavender will be presented upstairs in the courthouse both days.
The festival will kick off with the Blanco Lavender Growers’ Dinner on Saturday, June 25th. The dinner will be catered by Temptations, of Johnson City and features a beef or salmon selection with an assortment of lavender side dishes and Roger’s famous deserts. After dinner dancing will have music provided by the Patsy Thompson band. Local beer and wine will be served during the pre-dinner mixer and with dinner. A limited number of tickets to the dinner will be available. For further information or to purchase tickets contact the Blanco County Chamber of Commerce at 833-5101.
Blanco Texas Visitors Guide
The Lavender Capital of Texas
Blanco, Texas is located in the beautiful Texas Hill Country, 45 miles north of San Antonio and 45 miles west of Austin. For airplane connections, Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is about 53 miles away and San Antonio International Airport is 42 miles.
Blanco was settled in 1853 by pioneer stockmen, former Texas Rangers, immigrants and their families. This is also L.B.J. Country! Lyndon Johnson’s boyhood home, ranch and both National and State Parks are nearby.
On the historic Blanco Town Square you will enjoy shopping the antique and gift stores and touring the 1865 Historic County Courthouse, loving restored by the Old Blanco County Courthouse Preservation Society. The building now operates a visitor center, gift shop and community center. It is located in Blanco at the intersection of Highway 281 and Highway 165.
HOME: JUNE 20, 2003: COLUMNS
BY GERALD E. MCLEOD
Rows of lavender crawl over the rolling landscape west of Blanco like giant green caterpillars covered with purple hairs. The short bushes with fragrant blooms have become the newest cash crop of Central Texas.
“The Hill Country really lends itself to growing lavender,” says Jeannie Ralston at Hill Country Lavender in the Blanco River Valley. She and her husband Robb Kendrick, a photographer for National Geographic magazine, discovered lavender while on assignment in Europe. The climate and soil in the Valensole Plateau region of France where fields of lavender cover the landscape reminded them of the hills west of Austin.
Amazingly, about the same time, Richard and Bunny Becker were visiting wineries around Provence, France. The Beckers own Becker Vineyards outside of Stonewall, producers of award-winning wines that have been served at the White House and on finer tables around Texas. “On their trip to France, the Beckers noticed how much the terrain resembled the Hill Country,” says Nicole Bendele, a long-time employee of the vineyards.
Five years ago the Beckers planted three acres of lavender behind their winery. Despite losing some plants to last summer’s heavy rains, Bendele says the older plants are doing very well.
To celebrate this year’s harvest of the delicate purple blooms, Becker Vineyards will be hosting the Lavender Festival on June 21 and 22 at the winery with vendors selling lavender oils, soaps, and other products along with gardening tips, demonstrations, and live music. Of course, the winery will be open for tastings and food samples during the festival.
Joining the Beckers in the celebration, Hill Country Lavender and two other lavender farms will open their gates to visitors for the Hill Country Lavender Trail. Each stop on the trail offers something unique. At Lavender Hill, Charley and Ganell Pemberton’s farm at 1378 River Run on the western outskirts of Blanco will offer pick-your-own lavender in the field and an assortment of lavender-flavored products from 8am to 4pm (830/833-9097).
“We’re trying to get people more aware of lavender and all the local farms,” Bendele says of the purpose of the Lavender Trail. “I think that people like it because it’s a plant that has so many uses.” Besides all of the products that can be made with lavender, it also has decorating, cooking, and medicinal uses. “And it reminds a lot of people of their grandmothers,” Bendele says with a smile.
The mildly sweet smell of lavender seems to have a calming effect on most people. It also has been known to get rid of a headache and cure insomnia. Bendele says that during World War II the British used homegrown lavender as an antiseptic. A cousin to rosemary and sage, lavender adds a sweet and spicy flavor to foods.
Ralston says the chefs at Central Market in San Antonio developed a long list of recipes using lavender. It’s not hard to imagine lavender-flavored teas, lemonade, and even honey and salad dressing, but lavender-flavored brownies, cakes, and cookies have to be tried to be understood. An enthusiastic supporter of raising lavender in Central Texas, Ralston and her husband have sponsored seminars for potential growers. By next year they hope to have as many as 11 farms participating in the Lavender Trail. “Maybe we can have Blanco proclaimed the ‘Lavender Capital of Texas,’” she says.
New York (NY) Times
CURRENTS | Books
A Gardener’s Purple Prose
By PENELOPE GREEN
Published: June 12, 2008
There are many familiar pleasures in “The Unlikely Lavender Queen: A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming” (Broadway Books, $23.95), which chronicles Jeannie Ralston’s transformation from a proto-Carrie Bradshaw type into a lavender farmer in Texas. Ms. Ralston is a true New Yorker, the sort of changeling born elsewhere (in her case, Tennessee) who feels at home for the first time in Manhattan. But she falls in love with a handsome Texan who plucks her from her life as a freelance writer and parks her on 200 acres in Blanco, Tex., leaving her largely alone to build their dream house, as his work as a photographer requires months-long absences. She also raises two sons, and then fields of lavender, turning tiny Blanco into the state’s “lavender capital.” What’s unfamiliar is the resolution: After 10 years of finding her way in a foreign land, when her peripatetic husband wants to sell their home because land values have risen so much, she acquiesces. “I realized I wanted a happy home,” she writes, “versus this particular home.” Now they live in Mexico. Last week she admitted: “I’m not quite over the house, but I am over the lavender.” Nonetheless, she’ll be reading this weekend in Blanco, at the Lavender Festival she started.
Bills Authored / Joint Authored
Representative Patrick M. Rose
79th Legislature Regular Session
HCR 55 Author: Rose
Last Action: 02/24/2005 H Referred to Culture, Recreation, and Tourism
Caption: Designating Blanco the Lavender Capital of Texas.
HCR 187 Author: Rose
Last Action: 06/18/2005 E Signed by the Governor
Caption: Designating the Hill Country as the Official Lavender Growing Region of Texas.
HCR 188 Author: Rose
Last Action: 06/18/2005 E Signed by the Governor
Caption: Designating the Blanco Lavender Festival as the Official Lavender Festival of Texas.
By: Rose H.C.R. No. 55
WHEREAS, Texas is known throughout the nation for the excellence and variety of its agricultural bounty, and among the most distinctive and appealing of the crops grown here is the versatile herb known as lavender; and
WHEREAS, Lavender’s fragrance is perhaps the best-known aspect of its appeal, but the herb has also been used by many for decorating, cooking, and medicinal purposes, and lavender oil is even thought to have played a role in the development of the first photographic image; and
WHEREAS, Likened by some to the terrain in France where lavender has long been grown, the ruggedly beautiful Hill Country around Blanco has, in recent years, become home to a number of lavender farms, including Hill Country Lavender, Lavender Hill, Provence Hill Farms, and Becker Vineyards; and
WHEREAS, The decision by these inspired entrepreneurs to grow lavender in the very heart of the Lone Star State has produced outstanding results, and tourists now flock to the Hill Country Lavender Trail to pick bouquets of the herb and sample a surprising and delightful selection of lavender-infused products; and
WHEREAS, This happy confluence of agriculture, aesthetics, and enterprise has for good reason become closely associated with the city of Blanco and the surrounding area, and it is indeed fitting to bestow legislative recognition on this singular success story; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the 79th Legislature of the State of Texas hereby officially designate Blanco the Lavender Capital of Texas.
Word Mark LAVENDER CAPITAL OF TEXAS
Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Organizing and conducting civic festivals centered around the lavender plant and featuring a variety of activities, namely, demonstration, sampling of lavender processes and products, arts and crafts, wine and food exhibitions, flea markets featuring lavender and lavender related products, ethnic dances, vehicle shows, and the like; entertainment services, namely, arranging and conducting of competitions for art, foot races, bicycle races, motorcycle races, music, cooking, and public speaking. FIRST USE: 20041130. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20041130
Standard Characters Claimed
Mark Drawing Code (4) STANDARD CHARACTER MARK
Serial Number 78637762
Filing Date May 26, 2005
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1B
Supplemental Register Date March 29, 2006
Registration Number 3125170
Registration Date August 1, 2006
Owner (REGISTRANT) Pemberton, Charles L. INDIVIDUAL UNITED STATES P.O. Box 295 Blanco TEXAS 78606
(LAST LISTED OWNER) BLANCO DBA BLANCO, TEXAS COMPOSED OF A MAYOR, A CITY COUNCIL, AND CITIZENS OF THE INCORPORATED POLITICAL SUBDIVISION (CITY) OF THE STATE OF TEXAS MUNICIPALITY TEXAS P.O. BOX 750 OFFICE OF THE CITY CLERK BLANCO TEXAS 78606
Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED
Attorney of Record David Allen Hall
Disclaimer NO CLAIM IS MADE TO THE EXCLUSIVE RIGHT TO USE “TEXAS” APART FROM THE MARK AS SHOWN
Type of Mark SERVICE MARK
Live/Dead Indicator LIVE