Georgia may be best known as the Peach State, but in Dahlonega, Georgia, you'll find . In 2014, Tina Misko already owned some land and thought one day, "Wouldn't lavender be pretty?" It was a big dream, and one that many people tried to shoot down.
"Everybody kept telling me, 'You can't grow lavender in North Georgia,'" Misko tells CountryLiving.com. That's because Georgia's acidic clay soil and humidity makes it difficult to grow the plant.
"Through my research and through taking classes, I've learned to adapt the soil," Misko says. She started with one 90-by-100 foot field. From there, she just kept adding, and three years later, Red Oak boasts more than 2,000 plants of 20 different varieties and is open to the public for tours. After being closed for the winter, they'll reopen March 1st. Here's why it's worth taking a trip this spring:
1. It's a bit of a miracle.
Those pretty fields are also pretty special — Red Oak is one of the only lavender farms open to the public in the area. It's just that difficult to grow lavender in the region. Misko determined through soil testing that she needed to add sand to the soil, use drip irrigation, and plant in mounded rows so that the water runs off and the roots don't rot. "We do our best and have created a miracle here in Georgia to grow the lavender we do in one place," says the website.
2. They grow 20 different varieties.
Yep, that's right: There's more than one kind of lavender — more than 450, actually. Royal Velvet is the culinary variety and Grosso is the ultra-fragrant kind. Last year, Red Oak's tally was 1,200 lavender plants of 18 different varieties, and by this spring, they'll have more than 2,000 of 20 varieties.
3. You'll see more than plants.
The owners also raise bees for lavender honey, plus chickens for farm-fresh eggs.
4. There's a shop!
Walk away with a little bit of heaven when you visit Red Oak's on-site store. Choose from dried lavender bundles, sachets, or wreaths; bath products like soaps, bath bombs, and essential oils; lavender jams, salt, or syrup; and more. Admission to tour the farm is $5, but visitors can apply that credit toward something in the shop.
Can't make it this spring? You could always come for the third annual , on June 10, where guests can cut their own $5 lavender bundles and create lavender wands and crowns. There will also be live music, food (hello, lavender ice cream!), live artist painting, lavender candle-making, bee tours and vendors like photographers and wool spinners.