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Avant Gardener – 072213

Hosts Derek and Carolyn Fell are back together at their home and garden, Cedaridge Farm in Pennsylvania, and discuss some of the topics in the July issue of their award-winning, monthly, on-line, full-color newsletter, the Avant Gardener. Each issue features a notable garden and this issue it is the new native plants garden at the New York Botanical Garden, in the Bronx. Three-and-a-half acres in extent, it includes shady woodland and sunny, open meadows. The Fells describe some of their favorite native wildflowers, including trillium and slipper orchids for shade, and pitcher plants and cardinal flowers for full sun. The How-to feature this month covers the planting of a Tapestry Garden using trees and shrubs in different colors to create a tapestry of color without flowers, but using foliage shapes, foliage textures and foliage colors, including blue, yellow and white in addition to all shades of green. Another report explains the work of the American Chestnut Foundation in its effort to bring back the American chestnut from the verge of extinction. One initiative has been to cross surviving American chestnuts with Chinese chestnuts that are naturally resistant to the fungus disease that has devastated the native stands. This would be a hybrid. Another effort (by the University of New York) uses a special gene from wheat plants to produce a blight blocking enzyme so the progeny of surviving trees can defeat the disease. In the e-mail segment the Fells explain how to prune hydrangeas so they bloom profusely the following season, and they explain the truth about Japanese beetle traps – how some brands use both a sex attractant to lure the males AND a floral attractant to lure the females, and how the lures are effective for a distance of only 200 ft. so the chance of attracting more beetles from a neighbor’s garden is unlikely.