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Avant Gardener – 070813

Show host Derek Fell is without his co-host and wife, Carolyn this session because she is away on a site inspection, completing the design of a new garden for a client. So Derek takes this opportunity to describe how their home and garden at historic Cedaridge Farm, Pennsylvania serves as a test facility to evaluate flowers and vegetables, and also as an outdoor studio for taking pictures used in their books. Derek explains that their design philosophy at Cedaridge Farm is to maintain an old fashioned appearance since the farmhouse and its barn and other outbuildings date to 1791 when it was established as a Mennonite dairy farm and fruit tree orchard. Derek describes how a tour of the garden begins by entering a shady woodland of ferns, hostas and lilies from a sunny wildflower meadow and how the path crosses a bridge to a boggy area featuring bog irises, ostrich ferns and swamp hibiscus; then through a leaf tunnel where the lower branches of maple trees are pruned away to create a cathedral effect similar to the paintings produced by the Impressionist painter Paul Cezanne of his own garden in the South of France. The path leads on beside a sunny daffodil slope and through an azalea colony where redbuds and crabapples flower with the azaleas to create a monochromatic pink color harmony. Derek leads listeners across a second bridge beside a pond and up a sunny lawn towards a gardener’s toolshed festooned with climbing roses and clematis. Then he continues uphill to a cutting garden and beyond that a vegetable garden the size of a tennis court. Derek also describes some of the books that have been produced while living at Cedaridge Farm. He also explains the importance of a second facility on frost-free Sanibel Island, Florida where the climate allows Derek and Carolyn to test growing acid-loving citrus, bananas, mango, papaya and lychees in a predominantly alkaline soil. To conclude, Derek answers several emails, one from a Southern gentleman wanting to know the difference between Scuppernong and Muscadine grapes; another from a person wanting a heat-tolerant substitute for cilantro, and a woman who is confused about whether tomato plants need to be hand pollinated in order to set fruit.