Beloved actress Rue McClanahan is best known for her iconic role as Blanche Devereaux on the hit show Golden Girls, but rare footage of the star from the mid-1990’s reveals something few fans might have known about her.
The late actress divulged on The Orpah Winfrey Show that she had quite a green thumb! Who knew? Apparently, her love for gardening and the outdoors was so important to her, that she refused to buy a house that didn’t have a nice outdoor space.
“I wanted to build a gorgeous yard,” she said. “I didn’t care too much about the house. I looked for eight years… and when I saw this place, I said, ‘OK, this is it.’”
And even by today’s standards, McClanahan’s property is still downright gorgeous. The backyard is filled with lush greenery, and she’s even outfitted the space with a pool and mini waterfall. But McClanahan’s yard wasn’t just for show; she planted flowers and built a vegetable garden. She even brought her homegrown produce on set to share with her co-stars Betty White, Bea Arthur, and Estelle Getty.
“I took stuff into ‘Golden Girls’ every year,” she said. “All kinds of stuff ― squashes, you name it.” How sweet!
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But she especially prided herself on her knowledge of tomatoes, offering viewers two tips.
“Pick your tomatoes when they have just begun to turn pink ― barely when they just have a tinge of color on them,” she instructed. “Don’t wait for them to get ripe on the vine. You pick that tomato and you let it ripen, in the sun if you want it to ripen quickly, or the shade if you don’t. It’ll ripen and it’ll be delicious and sweet.”
The second rule dealt with the “crotch” of the tomato, which is where the stem meets the branch.
“In the crotch, you’ll find a little tip. You want to pinch those off,” she said, referring to the small leafy side shoots that suck nutrients away from the main branches. “If you pinch those off, these [other tomato-growing vines] grow stronger.”
If you ask us, she sounds like quite an expert! In addition to her tomato expertise, McClanahan said she enjoys gardening as a therapeutic exercise.
“It’s so much fun to do!” McClanahan said. “You can get rid of a lot of hostility that way.”
It’s been almost 7 years since the actress’s death in 2010, but it’s amazing the things we’re still learning about her.
Watch the full video below: