When summer comes, so come the beautiful and fragrant wildflowers of the West. Celebrate these gorgeous blooms at the Chatfield Farms’ fourth annual Lavender Festival. Enjoy some of the most vibrant lavender varieties, and explore the exciting ways you can use them in your daily life.

“Our horticulture team wanted to get more involved in lavender, and we had been to the Lavender Festival in Palisade and really enjoyed it, and that’s kind of what interested us about getting involved with it,” says Michele Wilcox, public events manager for the Denver Botanic Gardens and Chatfield Farms.

Tour the grounds at Chatfield, then sample infused food and beverages, such as lavender beer exclusive to the festival courtesy of Breckenridge Brewery. Learn how to incorporate varieties of lavender in your own recipes and crafts to bring herbal sweetness to any dish and lovely color and fragrance to any project.

“Different types have different camphor contents, and the lavender industry uses the different types for crafting, culinary use, essential oil distillation and for bath and body products,” says horticulture manager Jennifer Trunce.

“Camphor is in the plant, and it gives off a woodsy smell. Some lavender plants that have more camphor are going to have more of a woodsy smell, so you wouldn’t want that in your cheesecake. Whereas other varieties have less, so they’ll give off a sweeter scent.”

The festival features live music and booths for kids and adults. Children can ride ponies and have their faces painted, then sample wares from more than 40 craft vendors and learn from a blacksmith presentation. Through it all, you can explore what makes lavender so special in an area specifically designed to showcase the plant.

“Our CEO and our director of outreach were really interested in having a Lavender Festival, so we built the garden actually to just have a lavender festival,” says Trunce.

Watch art being created in the lavender fields and speak directly to the artists, then you can take home a piece to remind you of the Chatfield blooms. With more than 28 varieties of lavender available this year, you can use and enjoy it in millions of ways.

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Representatives of the Colorado Lavender Association will be available to teach the best tips and tricks for each variety. Their expertise can help anyone who’s interested develop a green — or rather lavender — thumb.

“Lavender loves really hot, dry weather so it’s actually pretty easy to grow here. There are certain types that don’t grow as well in Colorado, so at Chatfield Farms, we grow a wide variety to try to figure out which types will over-winter here pretty well,” says Trunce.

Lavender season is in its height from June through July, so celebrate the summer with a visit to their home at Chatfield Farms.

Kate Powell is a recent graduate from the University of Denver, having studied Journalism and Socio-Legal Studies. She self identifies as a writer and a pet mom, and joined the Gazette Features staff in 2019.

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