Avant Gardener – 051313

Hosts Derek and Carolyn Fell discuss growing melons and how important it is to cover the rows with black or clear plastic mulch in order to gain early and heavy yields if you live in northern areas because the plastic warms the soil, keeps it warm and encourages earlier blooms, earlier fruit and heaviest yields. They praise the varieties ‘Ambrosia’ cantaloupe for superior flavor and also the French perfumed melon called ‘Charantais’ among others. Their interview this session is with Stephanie Werskey, of the Nature Conservancy, an organization that seeks to preserve mostly outstanding private gardens threatened with being lost through lack of funds and/or administration expertise. Derek recalls meeting with the founder, the late Frank Cabot and the occasion he photographed his magnificent garden, Stonecrop in upstate New York, for Architectural Digest magazine. Derek also tells the story of Frank visiting the garden of a friend of Derek’s in New Zealand arriving by helicopter, landing in a sheep meadow adjacent to the garden. Answering e-mails, Derek recommends some trees and shrubs for a listener who wants to make his property look interesting in the winter; and for a listener in Arizona he recommends some beautiful drought-tolerant, heat resistant flowering trees and shrubs. The Fells also remind listeners that they can subscribe to the full color Avant Gardener newsletter by visiting avantgardener.info.