Gardening Tips & Tricks in Merritt and the Nicola Valley in British Columbia, Canada

Remembering Merritt BC Summer Music Events 

Nicola Valley Summer Time Fun Will Be Back

COVID19 may have postponed our Merritt BC summer music events but it will never take away our memories. 

 

The COVID 19 pandemic has cancelled our Merritt BC summer music events. And, boy, do we have some music classics here in the Nicola Valley like Bass Coast, Rockin’ River Music Festival, Open Mic Night and Gary Copper at the Adelphi Hotel to mention a few. However, it would not feel right to write a blog about remembering summer music events without mentioning Spirit Square, music in the park, and the Old Time Fiddlers playing at our local street market. As a result, no country music event blog would be complete without mentioning our very own cowboy crooner Bobbie Garcia,  who may just pop up at any of our music events at anytime.

merritt bc summer events

Bobbie Garcia – Photo courtesy of Bobbie Garcia

Take the time to check out “Cooper Country” post COVID 19 

Merritt BC’s oldest heritage Hotel, the Adelphi Hotel, is home to one of Canada’s and Merritt’s country icons, Gary Cooper. The group plays weekly to a growing collection of avid fans while welcoming their friends from all over the world to get up on stage and jam along with them. Therefore, it will especially be nice to witness some good ole’ country music again sometime in the future.  

merritt bc summer music events

Gary Copper – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

To say nothing of Gary Cooper’s amazing talent to make that guitar dance with such mind blowing movements. Albeit I may be a little biased, but I can honestly say Gary Cooper is one of the best performers I have ever witnessed.” Tania Stewart

 

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Cooper Country invites all friends to join on stage – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Cooper Country” Gary Cooper with his 2 son’s Cory & Jason, along with friends at the Adelphi Bar in Merritt BC

 

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Millie playing with her favourite band! – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

When we get pass this pandemic, be sure to attend “Open Mic” at Kekuli Café and support local artists

Whether you live in Merritt or stopping for gas at the Seven-Eleven across the street from the Kekuli Café, there is nothing that connects more with locals than locals sharing their love for music. We hope, soon, weekends at the Kekuli Cafe will open up again and fill the air with music.  Furthermore, the many Open Mic Music fans like Doug, Donna and Mary Dickie (who is in her 90s) cannot wait to pick this up again.  

Open Mic Nights

Open Mic Nights Audience – Photo courtesy of Jano Howarth

“As with all events like Open Mic Nights, our audience is what makes it ongoing.” Jano Howarth

WATCH VIDEO

Remember when we could take a stroll in the evening in Downtown Merritt BC 

Merritt’s Spirit Square was built for sound. Located in the heart of Downtown Merritt in the Nicola Valley, it is the sight of many open-air performances during the summer months. Because of the abundance of talent in the Nicola Valley there is never a lack of talent to grace the stage. The Nicola Valley is blessed to have so many talented musicians. 

MerrittNicolavalley

Coquihalla Coyotes  – Photo courtesy of Coquihalla Coyotes

One such local band which has played venues throughout the Nicola Valley are the Coquihalla Coyotes. The boys are a 3 piece rock and blues band for hire living in Merritt BC
Band Members: John-Henry Ramsey- Lead guitar/ Vocals, Paul Thompson- Bass guitar/ Vocals, Mark Schuitema- Drums/ Backup vocals

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The J.S Garcia Band. – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

 

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Summer music in Spirit Square – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

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Merritt’s own Old Time Fiddlers – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Bass Coast” 

They sure made an impression. How it has grown. Then Covid 19 hit and it too paid a big price with cancellation. What was going to be July 10 – 13th, 2020 is now ?? ??.   Bass Coast is a collective that showcases both local and international talent in a safe, supportive space. It is a place where artists are encouraged to display and share their hard work without fear of judgment. 

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Andrea Graham with Liz Thompson Bass Coast co-founders – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

“Bass Coast is built on the dreams and visions of a huge collection of people that will lead us to things Andrea and I would never have imagined. It’s not just us anymore, it’s everyone.” Liz Thompson

 

Merritt BC Summer Electronic Music

Bass Coast 2019 – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Post COVID 19 , this is one festival I cannot wait to attend again

Co-founders Andrea Graham and Liz Thomson are the architects of the event. The Librarian, Andrea, is a celebrated Canadian DJ, producer, and curator. She is the co-founder and music director of Bass Coast Music Festival. The festival is known internationally for its innovative music programming and installation art.  Andrea’s reputation as an inclusive community-builder in the electronic world has brought her a legion of fans and industry followers across the globe.

“I feel like in our community we have people who listen to different music, dress differently and are into different things, but that duality is also what creates a bond—our differences unite us.” Liz Thomson

Bass Coast 2019  - Merritt BC Summer Music

Country Music will be back in full force post COVID – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

Remembering Merritt BC Summer Country Music Events

Due to your love of Country, the Rockin River Fest was scheduled again for Jul 30 – Aug 2 this year of 2020. The headliner this year was Keith Urban. However, things have changed since COVID 19 arrived in full force. Now there is a pent up energy for country music again and so we believe next year it is going to be epic. The Rockin’ River Music Fest is a B.C. family-owned and operated country music festival that takes place annually, on the BC Day long weekend, in Merritt, BC. See you in 2021!

Merritt BC Summer Country Music

Enjoying Rockin at the River – Photo courtesy of ehCanadaTravel.com

Kenny Hess 

Kenny Hess is the architect behind the Rockin River Music Festival.  From the age of 4, he knew he was going to be a country music singer. Therefore, by the time Kenny was a teenager he had already set in motion his musical journey that he is still on today. Lastly, Kenny Hess has now been a part of the music industry since the 80’s.  He has come a long way since standing on the kitchen table singing at the top of his lungs hoping someone would listen.

WATCH VIDEO

 

With this in mind be sure to check out this amazing fun event in 2021.

 

Merritt BC Summer Music

Rockin River Music Festival – Photo courtesy of Tania Stewart

In a word

Obviously Merritt in the Summer offers an abundance of music events year after year, except for this year.  Regardless which event you choose to partake in the future the value is always there. Count yourself lucky! In conclusion, it is obvious that summer music events in Merritt BC are bountiful and will be back again. 

Merritt Summer Music Events

Follow Experience Nicola Valley for the latest in event listings coming back online. 

Merritt, British Columbia, Canada


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Mason Bees in Merritt BC

Bees in Merritt BC are some of the best friends your garden can ever have.

Mason Bees in Merritt BC – These solitary, non-aggressive little bees are not only great pollinators but also just one nest of them is more than enough for the average back yard in Merritt BC Canada.  And when I say they are non-aggressive, I mean it! I have never heard of anyone ever being stung by one. In addition, Mason Bees in Merritt BC are abundant. To attract and also to keep these nature friends in your garden, you need to know a few things.

Life Cycle Of Mason Bees in Merritt BC

Mason Bees in Merritt BC emerge from cocoons when the daytime temperatures reach 14 degrees C(57 F). They mate shortly after emerging. Then, immediately after mating, the female starts foraging for pollen to provide her nest. She goes into a tube about 15 cm  (6″) long, creates a pollen lump, lays an egg on it and then seals it with mud, plant material or a mixture of both. Each egg hatches out into a grub or larva and feeds on the pollen lump until it is fully grown. Then it rests before spinning itself a cocoon. Inside the cocoon, it first changes into a pupa, then into a bee.
By the end of summer, the cocoons contain adult bees. Both male and female bees remain in their cocoons until spring when the cycle starts all over again.

mason bees in merritt bc

Mason bee hard at work pollinating

Mason Bee Nest Requirements 

If you want to encourage Mason Bees in Merritt BC, build them a nest and meet their few requirements. They like their nests about 5 ft. from the ground and facing east. Preferred nesting spots are in dry tubes about 6″ long and 5/16″ deep, with only one entrance. Wood, masonry or even paper will do. It must be protected from wind, rain and extremes of cold and heat. Also, early flowering plants are also essential for bees in Merritt BC since the female must provide pollen lumps for her eggs. In addition to these few things, your Mason Bees will also need mud to seal in their eggs and protect them.

Early flowering plants for your Mason Bees

I checked with Vicki Hansen at Petals & Plants Flower Shop at 2052 B Quilchena Avenue for some suggestions for early plants in our area. She suggested the following: bleeding hearts, bachelor buttons, snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and, of course, lilacs. If you need more information, contact Vicki on Facebook, Instagram or phone her at: 250-378-5575. 

merritt mason bee pollinating

Spring is here and Mason Bees are hard at work

Constructing your own Mason Bee Nests

The easiest way to do this is to purchase paper straws, crimp the ends and tape them together so the open ends are uneven. Next, wrap the taped straws with cardboard glued together, then wrap in insulation to protect them from heat and cold. Paint the bee house in bright colours. Bees see colour and this helps them to find their nest. While you’re at it, why not paint the ends of the straws too.

Securing your Mason Bee nest

Paint the inside of a large, plastic bucket a dark colour. Insert the straw bundle in the bee house and put the whole thing into the plastic bucket turned on its side. Drill holes on the under side to let out water if rain gets in. Mason Bees in Merritt BC have many predators, so remember to cover the open end of the bucket with chicken wire. Also, keep the wire at least 3″ away from the nest entrance to keep pests out.

nesting mason bees in merritt bc

Example of a home-made Mason Bee nest

Harvesting Mason Bee cocoons in Merritt

Sometime between October and December it will be time to harvest your cocoons. If you use paper straws for your nests, harvesting is easy. Make a small cut in one end of the straw and unravel it carefully over a paper covered surface. Place cocoons in a container.

Merritt Mason Bee Nest and cocoon cleaning

Clean nests and replace straws as previously described. Between late September and December bees will not emerge from cocoons at room temperature, so clean the cocoons then. Mason bees in Merritt BC have a lot of wasps that parasite  them. Because of this, a thorough cleaning is necessary.

mason bee hotel

Mason Bee hotel and accommodations

How to clean Mason Bee cocoons

Place cocoons in an ice cream bucket. Add 8 cups tepid water. Wet cocoons by gently rolling and moving them for 5-15 minutes. Remove and place in a large strainer. Rinse again adding 1 tablespoon bleach to 1 gallon of water. Rinse well under gently running water. Remember, you have delicate, live bees in there.

After at least two washings, check for mites by placing the cocoons on a white paper towel, cover them with a wet paper towel and leave them to drain.

Mite check for your Merritt Mason Bees

After an hour, remove the paper towels and check the cocoons. You are looking for small orange spots. These are mites. If there are 5 or fewer per square inch, your cocoons are OK. If there are more than this then wash your cocoons again until there are fewer than 5 orange dots per square inch.

Which cocoons have  Mason Bees in them?

Cocoons with bees are dark grey and firm to the touch. “Parasitized” cocoons are lighter colored and feel crispy or look empty. Keep suspect cocoons in a clear container. In spring if wasps emerge, freeze and destroy. If bees emerge, cool them for 30 minutes in the fridge and release them outside.

Now you have Mason Bees in Merritt BC . Store the dry, clean cocoons in a cardboard box cushioned with toilet tissue. Keep the box in a metal, lidded container so pests can’t eat the cocoons. Punch some holes for air.

Releasing your Bees

In February, keep the box in the fridge over a damp paper towel until flowers bloom and the bees have food. A temperature between 2-4 degrees c. is ideal but colder could kill them; warmer could cause them to emerge too early and starve.

Emergence of Mason Bees in Merritt

Cut a small hole in the box for the bees to emerge. Then, place under the cleaned nesting box protected from rain, wind and of course, birds. However, remember to provide mud for your Mason Bees.  Also, remember to keep it moist so the bees can scoop it up as needed.

Smile every time you see one of your bees foraging in the garden!

Need more information?

Check out our local Merritt Public Library
address: 1691 Garcia
phone: 250-378-4737
website: tnrl.ca

Your senior blogger
Diane

Mason Bees in Merritt, B.C.

Creating a home for your Merritt Mason Bees


Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

COVID-19 IN MERRITT BC

HOW TO SELF ISOLATE IN STYLE

Fun Things To Do in Merritt To Break the Boredom
 

The COVID-19 in Merritt BC has citizens embracing the directives from our health authorities.  For my wife and myself this means self isolating ourselves. We are not quarantined, so we are able to go out for essential services such as groceries once a week or so.

GETTING THINGS DONE

  1. Converting CD’s

COVID-19 in Merritt BC

Gathering the materials

One of the nice things about self isolating during COVID-19 is that you now have time to tackle some jobs that you have been putting off because other things take you away from these tasks.  For example, I have wanted to convert my CD’s to digital and store them online. Ditto goes with my photos as well.

However, my procrastination has caused me some grief because technology has moved on and my computer does not have a CD drive.  To solve this problem I resurrected my old computer that did have the necessary drive to carry out this task.  This machine was extremely slow and was several releases of Windows 10 behind the times.  Despite these problems I persevered and the task was completed. 

2. Resurrecting the craft room 

We have a room downstairs that was originally going to be our craft room but overtime it became a storage room.  We had luggage, Christmas decorations, boxes of memorabilia and all kinds of other stuff which left no space to actually do any crafts.  This project is massive and is therefore still on going.

Emptying the storage room

Emptying the storage room

Putting the Craft Room back together

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.  Spring Cleaning in Merritt

What better time is there for tackling those cleaning exercises than when you can’t go anywhere.

Getting ‘er done

4.  Yard Work

Thatching the grass

The early Spring is a great time to get a jump on your gardening chores.  Things such as clearing out the winter die off, pruning, weeding and de-thatching.  The rewards will show within weeks.

Not all self isolation activities during COVID-19 is work!

1. Baking

This is one activity that is lots of fun and has great rewards when finished.  I myself am not a great baker but I can whip  up a great plate of Rice Krispy squares.  This time I added some crushed candy cane to add a little tasty addition to the recipe.

Rice Krispy Squares

Chili and Hamburger Soup

“I love food”-Shirley

My wife is a much better cook than I am.  She whipped up some of our favourite dishes, hamburger soup and Chili.

2.  Reading

Reading is one of my favourite things to do any time.  However with the COVID-19 in Merritt BC we have more time for reading.  I see one problem looming in the near future and that is the library is closed and so are the thrift stores that I get my reading supply from.  I guess I will have to step into the new age and get my books online.

Reading time

3.  Walking

Since we are not quarantined we can go out for walks.  There generally is no one  around but if we do meet someone we keep our separation of 2 metres.  It’s a great time for walking as Spring is beginning to show up everywhere.  We could use many of the trails around our house but it is tic season and so we are keeping away from these areas for now.

Out for a walk

4.  Games

Games are a big part of our life so it is fitting that we spend time doing this. We play card games and board games but not computer games.  The only downside is that we love to play games with our friends and that just doesn’t work during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Playing Canasta

This is serious

The Covid-19 in Merritt, BC is a serious matter.  There are things to remember  such as the pandemic will end, especially if we follow the advise of our National, Provincial and Community Governments.  There are many ways to keep in touch using such things as FACETIME and other equivalent programs or, even try,  the old fashion way by using the phone. 

COVID-19 Important Links

COVID 19 in Merritt BC

British Columbia COVID-19

Canada COVID-19

BE SAFE

COVID-19 IN MERRITT BC

Check out further information on ExperienceNicolaValley.com 

Merritt British Columbia Canada Top Travel Guides

Bears in Merritt BC Canada

How to safely live with Bears in Merritt & throughout the Nicola Valley

Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee saves lost black bear cub named “Merritt”

Safely living with Bears in Merritt BC Canada brought to you with the help of Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee. Everyone can live in harmony with the Bears who share our habitat. This fall I was very fortunate to meet Lydia Koot and Cecilia Fraga from the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee. Coincidentally, these two amazing women are volunteers who are passionate advocates for all wildlife. Recently they both traveled from Hope BC in the early morning hours to rescue a black bear cub we named “Merritt”.  A very adorable cub who was running around on the Bench. Lost and motherless, this little cub probably wouldn’t of survived the winter.

“Bear awareness can save our Bears” Tania Stewart, eco blogger with Experience Nicola Valley

Bears in Merritt BC

Hope Mountain volunteer Cecilia Fraga.

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Lydia Koot Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee.

Bears in Merritt BC: How we can reduce human-bear conflicts in Merritt BC Canada.

experiencemerritt

Follow some simple steps from Hope Mountain black bear committee :
  •  Store garbage , including recycle bin in garage or a secure location.
  •  Only place garbage & recycle bins in the morning of pickup.
  •  Remove bird feeders during bear season. ( mid May-to mid November).
  •  Turn compost often. Don’t add any cooked food, dairy, or fish to compost.
  •  Keep pet food inside or in a bear resistant container.
  •  Pick ripe and fallen fruit daily. Remove unused fruit trees.
  •  Clean your barbecues after each use, cover and store if possible.
  •  Keep refrigerators & freezers inside.
  •  Use electric fencing to protect small live stock or fruit trees. Refer to local by-laws for restriction on electric fencing.
Bears in Merritt BC Canada

Little cub named “Merritt”

Important to realize “If you see a Bear”. Living with bears in Merritt BC. Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee. Lydia Koot. 

  •  Stay calm, don’t panic.
  •  Don’t yell. Speak calmly to let bear know you are nearby.
  •  Never approach a bear and do not run from it.
  •  Back away slowly, moving in the direction you came from.
  •  Go indoors with your children and pets immediately.
  •  Warn others about the presence of bear.
  •  Once bear has left area, check your yard to make sure there are no attractions available such as fruit.
Black bears in Merritt BC

Hiding in tree, “Merritt”.

“Problem bears” do not naturally exist, they are created by humans who allow them access to food. Lydia Koot.

Importantly call the Conservation Officer Service.

merritt bc conservation officer

Dedicated Merritt Conservation Officer.

If a bear is threatening please call the conservation officer service at 1-877-952-RAPP (7277) or your local police. The B.C. Conservation Officer Service (COS) is a public safety provider focused on natural resource law enforcement and human wildlife conflicts prevention and response. Our vision is to be a progressive and respected leader in environmental compliance and enforcement, shared stewardship and public safety.

Once conditioned to look for “Easy” food from humans the bear usually becomes a public safety hazard. It is the bear that pays for human mistakes with it’s life. Lydia Koot.

To emphasize.

Whether you are camping, biking, hiking or just enjoying the out-doors. Respect all wildlife and how your footprint impacts your environment. Seeing a bear in its natural habitat can be amazing. A memorable  experience. Above all avoid encounters by making noise, let wildlife hear you. Never hike alone, and always be alert. Look for signs of bears, such as claw marks on trees, scat (fresh that is), logs ripped apart and overturned rocks.

Remember: In B.C. it is an offence to feed or leave attractants available to dangerous wildlife. Lydia Koot.

merritt bear in nicola valley

Remove bird feeders.

Merritt BC Canada wildlife

Pick all fruit trees.

Another key point.

Although a bear cub may look adorable and cute. They are wild and even though small could do a lot of damage if provoked. Importantly to call conservation officer or local police to deal with bear. Additionally knowing “Black Bear” facts. Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee.

  •  Black bears have variations of colors from black, brown, blonde and cinnamon.
  •  Have good eyesight.
  •  Sense of smell is 10x stronger than a bloodhound.
  •  Will stand on their back legs to better identify what is in front of them.
  •  Can run faster than you, and change direction quickly.
  •  Are strong swimmers.
  •  Are highly curious and intelligent.

“If I don’t like my neighbour, I cannot go to the RCMP and tell them, ‘Look, could you please take that neighbour away because I don’t like him,’ ” said Koot. “Well, that’s the same with wildlife. We live in wildlife country, so we cannot just go and shoot any animals that happen to walk to town, or go and build a wall around it.” Lydia Koot.

bears in merritt

Cub in a tree.

In conclusion

Everyone can live in harmony with the Bears who share our habitat.  With some education provided from Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee we can learn to live safely with bears. Firstly, be “Bear” aware and understand “Bear” necessities and “Facts”. Then take the simple steps to prevent “Bears” becoming public safety hazards so they do not pay with their lives because of our ignorance.

A brochure provided by Lydia Kootof Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee helped me understand how to be better “Bear Aware”.

The work provided by the Hope Mountain Black Bear Committee is possible with the financial support provided by:

For more information go to: www.hopemountain.org.

Or contact Lydia Koot at 604-860-4558. lkoot@hopemountain.org

Be Bear Aware

Living with Bears in Merritt BC Canada

Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Petit – which is pronounced “petee” Creek, Merritt, BC, Canada

“… remember the girl who grew a whole big country dream because she loved the smell of her Grandmother’s suitcase.”

Petit Creek Lavender Farm isn’t just about farming. It is about friends, it is about family, it is about fun, and it is about “following your heart”.  When I asked Judy-Sue Suzuki why she started the Lavender Farm in the Nicola Valley she said,

“ I started the Lavender Farm because I love it, and it gives me wonderful memories of my Grandmother’s luggage. When she would visit it smelled of Lavender”. 

Dreams Of Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Judy -Sue had a dream and since 2010 Judy-Sue and her entire family, her parents, her husband, her children, and her grandchildren have all played a valuable role in the production of Lavender buds, sachets, honey, creams, soaps, wreaths, and so much more. Everyone  is happy to pitch in to help with the acres of Lavender, over 300 rose bushes, gardens, rock beds, small quaint sitting areas and sweet cozy cottages. Every single inch of this property is touched by love. 

Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Everyone loves the Petit Creek Lavender Farm. Through the years the flowers and family grew.

Judy-Sue offers classes to teach others how to use Lavender in many ways, the farm has provided more than one wedding couple an amazing place to share their vows and start their new life together. But it is not all about making things pretty at the Petit Creek Lavender Farm. It is about work, hard work, long days and the only reward Judy-Sue is guaranteed to get is knowing she has done her best for her family and her animals, and for her that is more than enough. There are over 3200 photos on the Petit Creek Lavender Farm Facebook Page, I chose this one to share on my blog. Why? Read on!

experiencemerritt

Praying or Thanking?

Praying or Thanking.

Nothing To Waste 

I looked at this photo and it said so much. At first I thought Judy-Sue was looking up and saying a prayer, but then I also thought she could be looking up and saying “Thank You”, for the blessings she has in her life.  24 hours a day Judy-Sue watches over her farm in Merritt, BC Canada, hundreds of animals and birds are in her care. She also raises sheep, bunnies, and goats for fibre which she hand dyes and makes wool.  Nothing is wasted on the Petit Creek Lavender Farm, no land is left bare and unused, food is grown and preserved for the long winter. Birds lay eggs and provide meat, even the tiniest of creatures are trusted in Judy-Sue’s care. 

Lavender Farm in Merritt BC

Baby Birds in the Nest

Lavender And Heaven

It is so much more than Lavender, everyone shares photos of Lavender, we all know what it looks like and smells like. We love Lavender of course, but spending the day at the lavender farm in Merritt, BC, Canada is so much more. It is an experience your heart will remember forever. When you pull up to the front gate you will know you have arrived at a small piece of Heaven.

Petit Creek Lavender Farm

Arriving at Heaven’s Gate

Merritt Country Dream

When you meet Judy-Sue Suzuki you will understand what I mean. You will see a beautiful women with a heart the size of her 54 acres of flowers, fruits, family, and friends. Her smile will stay with you always. When you think of the sweet Petit Creek Lavender Farm in Merritt, BC, Canada you will always remember the girl who grew a whole big country dream because she loved the smell of her Grandmother’s suitcase.

Merritt BC cottage

Cozy Cottage at Lavender Farm

CONTACT INFORMATION

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Sunflower Farm

Merritt BC Lavender Farm

Petit – which is pronounced “petee” Creek, Merritt, BC, Canada