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Cresco woman turns passion for plants into whimsical business

Linda Besecker inherited land from her former teacher Ruth Henry.

Henry, Besecker’s third grade teacher, inspired Besecker to become a teacher too.

They taught together at the former Barrett Elementary School.

As Henry aged, Besecker took care of her and when Henry passed away she willed her land to Besecker.

Five years ago the land became Paradise Lavender farm in Cresco.

Besecker’s grandfather started Ross and Ross Nursery across the street where he had an herb farm.

Her nursery experience, love of lavender, along with her former teacher’s love of purple and gardens, led to the idea of the lavender farm.

Beautiful rows of lavender line the farm. Customers can cut lavender bundles for $8 during cutting season, which starts in June and is a short season. Types of lavender grown include munstead, hidcote, super blue and phenomenal.

Lavender can be purchased all season in the funky gift shop filled with “curiosities” such as fairies, unique trinkets, lavender products and even lavender ice cream.

Two years ago The “Enchanted Fairy Forest” was born because Besecker wanted to do something special for kids.

Walking through the arch guests enter a place filled with themed fairy homes, along with picnic tables to eat in the garden. Displays include “Fern Fairy,” “Fairy of the Moss Village,” “Chakra Fairy” of the rainbow and “Love Fairy.”

Each display has a special trinket related to the theme for visitors to take, such as small wooden hearts from the love garden.

Small events, such as bridal showers and tea parties, can be held on the grounds under the event tent. The farm also holds scavenger hunts, has classes, and hosts tea parties and yoga.

Besecker is working on an herb garden. Her father grew herbs and sold them around the country in the 1950s and ’60s for medicinal purposes. Impressively, at 86, he’s still working at his nursery and teaching his daughter about growing herbs.

Paradise Lavender is at 5891 Paradise Valley Road, Cresco. Seasonal hours are Thursday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The farm is generally open until October, weather permitting.

Go to paradiselavenderfarm.com for more information and events schedule.

Rows of lavender at Paradise Lavender farm in Cresco. LORI R. COOPER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Rows of lavender at Paradise Lavender farm in Cresco. LORI R. COOPER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Some of the trinkets at the farm. LORI R. COOPER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Trinkets at the lavender farm. LORI R. COOPER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS
Lily Pad Lane in the Enchanted Fairy Forest. LORI R. COOPER/SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS