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America’s Oldest Monthly Horticultural Newsletter Celebrates a Year On-Line
by Derek Fell
October 6, 2013

America’s oldest gardening newsletter and winner of several literary awards, the Avant Gardener is celebrating a year as a full color on-line edition.

Recent issues reported on a new hardier perennial lavender, ‘Phenomenal’, bred by Peace Tree Farm, Pennsylvania; a new hardy ornamental banana called ‘Musella’ from Stokes Tropicals, Louisiana; a new dove tree ‘Sonoma’ that flowers in two years instead of ten from Sonoma Nursery, California; and a new cold-hardy avocado suitable for growing indoors in containers, from Logee Greenhouses, Connecticut.

Other news warns of a new fruit fly pest from China called the spotted wing drosophila that is devastating soft fruits such as raspberries, blackberries and blueberries; also a new invasive pest from South America called the spiraling white fly that is threatening many of Florida’s most beautiful trees, notably gumbo limbo, coconut palms and strangler figs. The newsletter frequently explodes a few myths like: ‘hardy water lilies are longer blooming than tropical kinds’ (false, because tropicals will bloom a month to six weeks longer even though they are sensitive to frost); ‘tomato yields can be improved by pollinating the flowers with a camel’s hair brush’ (false, because tomatoes are self-pollinating so tedious hand-pollinating is a waste of time), and ‘household ammonia makes a good fertilizer’ (false, because the nitrogen in ammonia can be toxic to plants).

The Avant Gardener also carries interviews with experts, such as Dennis Catheart, owner of Tropiflora Nursery, Florida, suppliers of tens of thousands of exotic plants by air for the new Gardens by the Bay botanical garden in Singapore; and Dr. Darrell Apps, breeder of hardy repeat-blooming daylilies such as yellow ‘Happy Returns’, maroon ‘Pardon Me’ and deep pink ‘Rosy Returns’.

To view a free sample issue of the Avant Gardener on-line, visit .

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