A small plot of budding lavender overlooks a mostly barren, partly-reclaimed mountainside, contrasting the old and new.
“That’s what it all used to look like before it was reclaimed,” Aaron Smith, of Charleston, said as he pointed to the mountainside.
Smith started out as an intern and now works full-time for the Green Mining Model Business Program, which aims to turn the reclaimed area of the former Pritchard Mine site into “purple mountains.”
As Smith drove his pickup truck over the winding, rough, gravel road to what he and others with the program call the “demo site,” he talked about the company and what he’s learned about lavender.
He mentioned that he uses a ratio of 60 percent sand and 40 percent dirt to grow the plant and said the lavender thrives in a rockier environment, which is why he said the former mine site provides a surprising environment for it to thrive.
“People ask me what I do and I say I grow lavender on a mine site,” he said. “They always respond with ‘what?’”
The demo site alone features about 14 varieties of lavender…