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Avant Gardener – FOCUS ON HARDY GARDEN LILIES AND HOW TO GROW THEM, PLUS AN INTERVIEW WITH THE HEAD OF ALL-AMERICA SELECTIONS, THE NATIONAL SEED TRIALS.

This broadcast we begin by praising the spectacular beauty of hybrid garden lilies including the early-flowering Asiatic Hybrids and fragrant Trumpet types, plus the later summer-flowering Oriental Hybrids, including the famous fragrant red American-bred ‘Star Gazer’ and equally fragrant, Dutch-bred pristine white ‘Casa Blanca’ . We describe our large lily collection at Cedaridge Farm, which includes plants in containers and shady areas. Our interview this session is with Diane Blazek, head of All-America Selections, the national seed trials. She explains the history of this 80-year organization that every year makes awards of recognition for the best home-garden varieties of flowers and vegetables grown from seed. We discuss the judging system and highlight some of the milestones in breeding achievement recognized by All-America Selections, including the ‘Sugar Snap’ pea, ‘Celebrit’y hybrid tomato and ‘Bright Lights’ Swiss chard. We also discuss the merits of the latest flower seed winners including a new coneflower mixture that blooms the first year from seed, a new vigorous canna that blooms the first year from seed, and a new dessert melon that has a unique sweet citrus flavor.