Avant Gardener – 020413

Across much of North America daffodils will begin to strike through the soil and flower early, even ahead of tulips. They are good for garden display and also for cutting because many are fragrant and will fill a room with the scent of a gardenia. Carolyn explains why she favors the varieties Pink Charm and the double-flowered Tahiti, while Derek promotes the benefits of the large-flowered Fortissimo, Pheasant’s Eye, and Professor Einstein which he first encountered in Monet’s Garden. This lively introduction is followed by an interview with Tony Avent, owner of Plant Delights Nursery, near Raleigh, North Carolina. Tony explains how he is able to leave many semi-tropical plants out in their flower beds to survive the winter in his zone 7 garden. These include varieties of hardy banana, agave and yucca. Tony is also himself a hybridizer, with a special strain of hardy hellebores in colors not available ten years ago. Answering emails from listeners, Derek explains how to control stink bugs, an invasive insect pest that is spreading across the country and devastating vegetable crops; also he extolls the benfits of a new variety of dove tree that will bloom within two years of transplanting instead of 20 years.