Chris Banthien displays her flowers at the farmer's market
When Chris Banthien built her house on a steep hillside near the Monterey Bay in Aptos, California she knew she would have to specialize in flowers that could withstandLavender fields at Valencia Creek Farms hot sun, ocean fog and sandy soil. She chose Mediterranean herbs as her main crop which proved an ideal match for the climate. She sells her ornamental herbs both fresh and dried to customers at farmers markets and to floral wholesalers.

Chris grows a half-dozen varieties of lavender in four acres of terraces carved out of the hillside around her house. The English varieties, Provence, Grosso and Hidcote - in dark purple and white - are her most popular lavenders.

The ornamental oreganos range from Kent Beauty, a short rose and green variety with large, rounded bracts up to 1 inch in diameter, to the 24 inch Santa Cruz oregano featuring small dark rose and pale green hop-like bracts.

Dried Hydrangea wreath 

600 hydrangeas grow in the fertile soil around the pond and get their moisture from the artesian springs feeding this area of the ranch. The varieties range from the chartreuse Annabelle hydrangea growing on 30 inch stems to the elegant ivory and pink hydrangea Paniculata or PG hydrangea.

Basket of LavenderLate summer, part of the flower harvest is dried and crafted into wreaths, bouquets and custom arrangements.



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