“Precious Cargo,” Greg’s November, 2014 Flying Carpet column

Lavender by Air

7-GregBrownFT1114_1144eSmw1200What makes something precious? The price tag? Or perhaps that someone you love desires it?

We recently suffered a traumatic horticultural loss — one of Jean’s treasured Provence Lavender plants. She bought them several years ago at the annual Red Rock Farms Lavender Festival outside tiny Concho, Arizona. (See “Scent of the Sky,” FT 6/10.)

Under Jean’s careful tending, the aromatic plants have since flourished in our front yard from 4-inch seedlings to glorious, 3-foot purple-blossomed bushes. Appealing as lavender may be to humans, it’s refreshingly unappetizing to elk, rabbits, and javelina. So we never anticipated losing one to a gopher dining from underneath. I asked Jean if she planned to replace it.

RedRockLavenderRanchAloft-ConchoAZ_1128eSmw1200“I’d like to,” she said, “but it’s challenging finding hardy lavender locally. The last bushes I planted didn’t last.”

“So the Concho plants are hardier?”

“Yeah, they seem better suited to our climate. But although Red Rock offers other lavender products online, they only sell plants during their annual festival that ended last month.” I offered to inquire about flying over to get some.

“No,” she said. “It seems impractical flying almost to New Mexico to buy a few plants.” That ended the discussion for a few days — until I next encountered Jean pondering the remains of her beloved lavender bush.

“I wonder if I can bring it back to life,” she said, but that didn’t look promising.

Admitting it might not make sense flying halfway across the state to buy three or four plants, I asked if other gardeners in her club might want some. That apparently passed the test, so I phoned Red Rock Farms owner Mike Teeple…

READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE FLYING CARPET COLUMN,PRECIOUS CARGO.” (Please allow a moment for the article to load.)

Top photo: Mike Teeple of Red Rock Farms loads lavender plants at St. Johns Industrial Air Park, Arizona.

Bottom photo: Aerial view of Red Rock Lavender Farm, near Concho, Arizona. SEE MORE PHOTOS!

(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)

©2014 Gregory N.Brown