Every morning, Darlene Romanko goes for a walk through different gardens. As you can imagine, it’s an idyllic scene. There’s a butterfly garden, with a willow, lilies, phlox and fruit trees. The vegetable garden is an ecosystem in itself, with carrots, native flowers, lettuces, and broccoli being harvested and allowed to go to seed for next season. In the front of the property, there’s an 80 year-old tree. Romanko’s home is built around it. And looking out over the wildflowers is Sancti, her wellness studio.
“it’s a sanctuary,” she says.
“What I offer is treatments, training, and the garden.”
Romanko, an educator, energy therapist, teacher and master gardener, says she’s always allowed things to unfold as they will, whether she’s working in environmental policy or designing an airport. She’s also an experienced aromatherapist, Reiki master and yoga teacher.
“I’ve had very interesting career options. And I kind of just go with that flow and when I feel a need to move along, I do.”
The latest addition to Sancti seems like it’s always been there – and it came to her one morning while hand-watering her gardens.
“The idea came to me about a month ago,” she says.
“I think with COVID and concerns with food security, I said to myself ‘people need locally grown, healthy products.’ And they need it to be affordable.”
So, it began. Depending on the day, (“I harvest when the plant is ready, as opposed to when I’m ready”), she selects a small batch from her
collection of culinary and medicinal herbs, carefully dries and packages them, and sells them at the Peachland Farmers and Crafters Market every Sunday. There’s dried herbs infused with salts, and French and Italian-influenced jars that include things like culinary lavender, lemon balm, celery leaf, thyme and oregano, to name a few. Fresh herbs are also available. There’s herbal teas, too – anise fennel, chamomile and peppermint. And if you’re into fresh-baked goods, Romanko finds what’s best in the garden, bakes it, and brings it along – this week, look for something with currants, cherries and raspberries.
She’s also designed a perfume, and makes bath salts, a lavender soap “and a hand bar that men, women and everybody at the market wanted. This line is ever evolving, depending on what people ask for at the market.”
She also sells her art and art cards – and another great idea, flower bouquets that may look a little different from what you find at the grocery store.
“I said, you know what, we need to promote local flowers and what will grow in the garden. So, when I go down to the farmers market that’s what I can tell people: Here are flowers from a garden in Peachland, and it all grows right here.”
The bouquet is beautiful – Purple echinacea, white snapdragons, a dried allium, phlox, lavender and more.
“It’s really not about thinking ‘I have to go out and buy, or I have to do this.’ I take it as it’s produced in the garden,” Romanko says.
Her first farmers market was only two weeks ago, and as a ‘newbie’ she says she was welcomed with open arms.
“It was fun. It was great, everybody is really friendly, everybody is very nice to a newbie who’s never done it before. I mean, I wasn’t expecting to do this even a month ago.”
You can find Sancti Wellness at the Peachland Farmers Market every Sunday in Heritage Park from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.