(Pictured here are Rex and Carmel, Art and Sherry and our summer intern, Adam...who we've dubbed Papalo Picasso, since his budding interest in the herb, papalo and his degree and talent in art).
We were very pleased to have Drs. Art & Sherry Tucker from Delaware. They brought with them Carmel and Rex from Australia, who are commercial lavender growers. Rex said they grow 10,000 lavender plants in their fields, harvesting them by hand and running the lavender through the threshers and selling the flowers.
Art Tucker is a long time friend and Research Professor, and co-director of the Claude E. Phillips Herbarium at the Dept. of Agriculture and Natural Sciences at Delaware State University. He's the author of 2000. Herbs of Commerce, co-author of The Big Book of Herbs (with Tom Debaggio), and many, many, many more writings. We know him as the walking encyclopedia of herbs and the foremost authority of fragrance oils in herbs. One of the plants in our garden, which we dubbed, "Art Tucker's Russian sage," is a white clary sage we look forward to seeing bloom in the garden each year, and which the goldfinches also anticipate because of the abundance of seed the plants produce.
Carmel is the editor of Lavender Australia magazine and we had previously only met by email as she had invited me to write articles for the magazine. Now we have an invitation to go to Australia and visit these delightful folks and see how commercial lavender is grown.
It was great fun having serious plant people here and feeding them some of our garden produce. Even more fun were the walks in the garden, learning new things and trading information and plants. It was a great reminder to me of why it is I love to garden. Not just the plants, but the people and the food that we get from all the herbs and vegetables. What a treat for us to have such wonderful visitors.