Plant breeders have bred some very fine new varieties for this year's gardens. Three outstanding new vegetable and two new flower introductions, in addition to the All-America Selections, are listed in the spring 1979 catalog of George W. Park Seed Co., Greenwood, S.C. 29647 (free upon request).
Several years ago, Park Seed horticulturist sat down to a meal in Guatemala and sampled what to them was a brand-new squash that had an unusual but delicios nut-like flavor. Not only was the flesh succulent and tender, but even the skin was edible.
The were told it was an original Guatemalan Indian squash, a vining variety, but not the more compact bush type needed by the North American gardener.
The bush kind in necessary for small gardens, and plant breeders went to work on it. The result is Squash Gourmet Globe Hybrid, the fruit of which ripens about 50 days after sowing and is recommended for frying, stuffing, steaming, or for salads.
Pepper Sweet Banana Whopper Hybrid, another Park introduction, provides fruit 48 days after setting out plants, has more and larger fruits with thicker walls not easily damaged, with the same sweet taste of open-pollinated varieties. The mature fruits are red, uniform in shape, size and color.
Squash Greenwhopper Hybrid, another Park introduction, produces fine-tasting fruit in 48 days. Hybridizers who began the breeding program on it aimed at getting the productivity of a light green squash and the quality of a dark green zucchini.
One of Park's new flowers is Portulaca Afternoon Delight, the flowers of which open earlier in the morning than other kinds and remain open all afternoon long after other types have closed. The plant has a dwarf, spreading habit and large double flowers in most colors but blue.
Two new varieties in the Jolly Geranium series also are included: Jolly Appleblossom Pink and Jolly Red Wink. These geraniums have immense individual flowers, about one third larger than any of the other known cultivars, and can be grown from seed. The large flower heads are carried on strong 14-inch-high plants which are both bushy and base-branching.