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Avant Gardener – 102113

Hosts Derek and Carolyn discuss Derek’s departure for their winter home and tropical garden on Sanibel Island, Florida, and pick some headlines to talk about from their on-line full-color newsletter, titled the Avant Gardener, at avantgardener.info. Derek reports that the world’s oldest plant has been discovered in Tasmania – a type of protea that is believed to be 43,600 years old, now a colony that originated from one plant that occurred as a mutation all those years ago. Prior to this Tasmanian discover, the oldest living plant was a huckleberry in Pennsylvania that has created a colony the size of a football field, near Pittsburgh. Want a challenge? The October issue explains how to grow chicons, those sweetly flavored creamy white buds also called Belgian endive. They need growing outdoors to obtain
taproots that are then moved indoors to grow on in the dark. It’s a challenge but well worth the trouble since the crunchy, sweet leaves can be peeled off to serve as scoops to use as dips and enhance salads. The October issue also features an article about desirable weeping trees, such as weeping cherries. In the email segment a listener wants to know the difference between two recommended blackberry varieties, ‘Hull’ and ‘Chester.’ Another listener wants recommendations for growing strawberries and clarification of the difference between a June bearer, ever-bearer and a day-neutral. A California lady asks for varieties of fig other than ‘Brown Turkey’ that can grow large since ‘Brown Turkey’ is relatively small. A Kansas gardener wants to visit Monet’s Garden, in France and would like to know the best dates for maximum color. Derek, who produces a calendar for the Monet Museum, recommends three dates – first week of May, first week of June and the last week in September.