The Lavender Lady

Near the airport, on the side of one of the busiest roads in Christchurch, is an oasis of calm and loveliness. It is the Avice Hill Reserve, so called because the area was bequeathed to the city by Avice Hill, the Lavender Lady. It is also  home to the Avice Hill Crafts Centre, the Canterbury Potters Association and the Canterbury Herb Society.  We visited today and had the entire Reserve to ourselves; except for the birds.

The birds, many and varied, were concentrated in the plum trees. One of trees was over laden with small, yellow, sweet and ultra delicious, plums. Some went in my mouth and some in to my pocket, and they were so good I need to collect some more.

Are they Mirabelle plums?Plums a plenty

Free fall plums and mind where you tread!Over flow

The herb garden was full and flourishingTo the Herb Garden

and here, for a moment, you could catch up with timeThe Herb Garden

for it was very still.On Time

Once rested, there were treasures to find like this pot in the herb garden (oh dear!),Pot amongst the Herbs

and trees to loveTrees of the Reserve


and benches to rest upon ( in comfort?)Bench

and then information to read. Notice, I am on a wayward path again because the information board is at the entrance to the Reserve and I am reading it on my way out!

This is Avice Hill. She was born in 1906 and died in 2001.

Avice Hill

Here is part of her story.The Story of Avice

She worked as an entomologist in the 1930s and 40s. She was one of only a few female science graduates at that time.

More of the story

She bequeathed the land to Christchurch City in 1989 to provide an art and crafts facility, a potters’ room and a herb garden and to protect the mature trees on the property.

Lavender was Avice Hill’s great love and the Lavandula angustifolia “Avice Hill” was named after her. It is, apparently, a very fine lavender. Strangely, there was very little lavender to be seen in the Reserve and none was labelled,as far as I could tell. Perhaps, one is just supposed to know one’s lavender.  Whatever is the case, I am thankful to Avice Hill for her gift to our city.Lavender for Avice

© silkannthreades


16 thoughts on “The Lavender Lady

  1. Pingback: Keeping track of myself | silkannthreades

  2. Clanmother

    When you find what you really want to do and you earnestly pursue your goal, amazing things happen. You will find others who will help you along the way. Lovely story – a life well lived.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      It was a surprise to me when I found out about the Reserve and Avice Hill. Unfortunately, I struggled to find any more information about her on the internet. I am sure there will still be people in the herb and pottery spheres who knew her in person.

  3. utesmile

    This is interesting and such a beautiful garden. theose yellow plums are mirabelle plums as we call them in Germany “Mirabellen”. Don’t see many around any more. My grandmother had a tree in her garden and used to make jam from them, it tasted fantastic. I always remember this when I see some Mirabellen.

    1. Gallivanta Post author

      Thank you Ute for confirming that they are Mirabellen. A friend suggested they might be, from my description. It was my first time to see them in Christchurch. I expect there are few trees of this variety which is a shame as the plums are so good. I love how certain fruit and food connects us to our grandparents. I associate raspberries with my maternal grandfather. I wish I could send you some of the Mirabellen. 🙂

  4. melodylowes

    I love hearing about women who did incredible things with their talents and abilities, especially those who were ‘before their time’! Yay for the lavendar lady!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.