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Avant Gardener – 061713

Derek and Carolyn focus on garden lilies, explaining the difference between early-flowering Asiatic hybrids, Trumpet lilies and Oriental hybrids, and also crosses between all three. Derek recalls his meeting with the late Jan de Graaff, famous American lily hybridizer and the late Leslie Woodriff who followed him with sensational lily introductions such as Black Beauty and Star Gazer. The expert this session is Kate Sparks, of Lilies & Lavender, a Pennsylvania cut flower farm. Kate explains how she turned her hobby into a profitable business, by selling cut flowers at farmer’s markets and then supplying fresh cut flowers for special events such as weddings. Every Saturday she is a vendor at the Rittenhouse Square farmer’s market in Center City, Philadelphia. Kate also describes some of her favorite flowers for cutting, including rudbeckia, lisianthus, lilies and dahlias. Answering emails, Derek explains how long a repeat-blooming daylily can bloom, and when to divide daylilies as the clumps become crowded. He also describes how to divide perennial Oriental poppies, and recommends a special perennial species known as Papaver bracteatum, from the mountains of Iran. Blood-red in color, with black petal markings, it has poker stiff stems and a flower the size of a steering wheel. The Fells comment on the ability of sunflowers to purify a contaminated soil, Derek explaining that in Russia sunflowers are being used to restore agricultural fields poisoned by radiation from the Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident. The Fells remind listeners that email questions can be sent to derekfell@verizon.net and also they are invited to view a sample copy of their award-winning on-line, full-color newsletter, the Avant Gardener.