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Avant Gardener – 052013

In this broadcast Derek explains that he has just returned from France where he obtained new photography of Monet’s Garden for a calendar titled ‘Monet’s Garden’. While there he taped an interview with the head gardener of Monet’s Garden, an Englishman James Priest, who was born in the same county as Derek in England. In the introduction Derek and Carolyn discuss their reactions to visiting Monet’s Garden, and the design elements of the garden that make it unique, including Monet’s fondness for planting in color harmonies, such as yellow and blue, and also introducing a shimmering effect to his garden by salting the garden with airy white flowers like white forget-me-nots. Mr. Priest explains how Monet had gardened at properties in rented before finding the house and grounds he decided to purchase in the charming Normandy village of Giverny, a 45 minute drive north of Paris beside the River Seine. Consisting of a flower garden known as the Clos Normande, and a water garden inspired by Japanese garden design, Mr. Priest also explains the planting philosophy used today in order to keep the garden authentic to Monet’s ideal. He also describes his qualifications for obtaining the position of head gardener, starting with an interested in gardening encouraged by his father, and formal horticultural training at the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens, Wisley, in England, folowed by work with several French estates. Answering email, Derek provides tips on harvesting asparagus and how to blache it for a sweeter flavor. He also provides names of sunflower varieties that repeat-flower all summer until fall frost.