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Avant Gardener – 021813

Derek and Carolyn continue their discussion about seed starting advice, pointing out the importance of helping hard-coated seeds to germinate by either nicking the seed coat with a razor blade to aid water penetration, or soaking in luke warm water overnight to soften the seed coat. This applies to hard-to-start vegetables like okra and ornamentals like morning glories. The guest expert this session is Jerry Fritz, landscape architect, owner of Linden Hill Farm Nursery, and sponsor of the Ottsville, Pennsylvania Farmer’s Market. Jerry is a man of many talents and an expert on using perennials and woody plants in the landscape. He describes some of his favorites in each category, with an emphasis on hydrangeas and how to get hydrangeas to bloom in severe winter areas. Among the emails Derek explains why you should plant from seed or seedling transplants rather than sets (bulbs) if you want the largest onions; also he makes recommendations for planting a rose hedge of all one color or mixed colors; recommends the Empress paulownia as a beautiful flowering landscape tree for gardens south of Philadelphia; and explains how water lilies and fish such as koi can live in harmony.