Avant Gardener – 090913

Derek relates to co-host Carolyn his trip to a very fine Florida garden, the Four Arts Garden, in Palm Beach, Florida. A little-known garden located at the Four Arts Plaza, it consists of several shady tropical gardens, one with a Chinese theme, and others that are Italianate. The garden also features a sculpture garden with sculptures of mostly people and animals set on pedestals. The gardens are free to visitors and open year round from 9.00 am to 5.00pm. Derek also describes a visit he made with Carolyn to the Villa Vizcaya, an ostentatious Italianate garden founded by the inventor of the John Deere tractor. The formal gardens are planted with tropical plants, and a special feature is an island of concrete in the shape of a ship, where an orchestra would play to entertain guests on the adjacent lawns. Derek also recalls a visit he made with Carolyn to the studio of photographer Clyde Butcher whose black-and-white images recall the images of Ansell Adams, but with the Florida Everglades as his primary subject. Carolyn remembers their purchasing a Butcher original 20 years ago when they were guests of the Florida Tourism Office, and paying $100.00 for an unframed print. Derek informs Carolyn that the same unframed print today, of a section of deserted beach on Estero Island, on the Gulf of Mexico, was offered for sale at $1,250.00. The studio not only has a fine gallery of Butcher’s work, but also a short nature trail that takes visitors through a cypress swamp where stag-horn ferns, bromeliads and cypress trees with buttressed trunks create a series of naturalistic subjects to photograph. Derek then conducts a 15-minute interview with Mark Hooten, a horticulturist with Driftwood gardens, Bonita Springs, Florida, discussing citrus – how to grow everything from gigantic, sweetly-flavored Pommelos to delicious grape-size kumquats, both indoors and outdoors. Derek has time to answer one email: their first from Canada, from a Vancouver resident who wants to know how to grow horseradish and how to prepare the famous white horseradish sauce.