Purple hills, shepherd's walk and lavender spa

Back in London, February used to be a pretty grey month. Here the air is perfumed, the fields the colour purple and the temperature just perfect.

Later in the month usually around the 28th when it's 'El Día de Andalucía' (Andalucia Day), another holiday, we harvest the lavender. We start early in the morning before there are too many bees, it's a pleasurable job, one that's done slowly with plenty of time and good company.

Most of the lavender is distilled with spring water in a large copper still. We started out with a do it yourself rig of boiling pans and cooling hoses in the swimming pool but it's now a little more sophisticated.

a handful of lavender

Some of the best fresh heads are sent up to the drying room.

Some are ground and dried to go into making the lavender spa scrub.

fountainhead spa treatment

Others are ground directly with Dead sea salt to make a treatment for the spa bath.

lavender andalucia

We have many different types, including Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula latifolia, Lavandula dentata and Lavandula pinnata.

The landscape is nearing its greenest and we walk out following the shepherd's trails, tiny worn paths through the undergrowth. Scrambling between giant rocks, we sit under the cork oaks, the ground well worn by hooves, and gaze out to take in the view.

Spanish wild lavender

This is Spanish lavender (lavandula stoechas) growing wild with its characteristic deep purple 'ears'.

Ma'at hand painted silk

The colours of spring inspire this hand painted cushion from Ma'at Silk.

A few of the spa products with essential field botanicals, lavender, sweet fennel, rosemary, marjoram and thyme.