Avant Gardener – 030413

Hosts Derek and Carolyn discuss early-flowering bulbs and flowering shrubs that bloom even before the last snowfalls of winter, describing the special benefits of snowdrops, winter aconites, hellebores, crocuses, Siberian squill, glory of the snow and especially crown imperials which produce pendant bell-shaped flowers beneath a crown of leaves that resemble the top of pineapple, in yellow and orange. Also woody witch hazels that have spidery yellow or orange blooms that bloom ahead of daffodils and which make good indoor arrangements;plus flowering quince that can be red, pink, orange and white depending on variety. Derek interviews noted author, Pat Lanza, whose book titled Lasagna Gardening has sold more than a million copies. As Pat explains, the book describes a system of gardening that is labor-saving because it requires no digging, unlike the similar system first described by Ruth Stout, it can be installed on a weedy or grassy site by using newspapers to kill existing plant life and encourage earthworms to loosen the indigenous soil. In the email segment Derek explains the complexities of growing the beautiful blue poppy, and he answers a listener’s question about blossom end rot, a disease that can afflict tomato fruits. He concludes with advice about making lavender tea and other uplifting herbal teas such as chamomile and mint.