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'Southwest Yard and Garden' Goes Regional

LAS CRUCES - Regional interest in New Mexico's "Southwest Yard and Garden" series prompted producers to take their cameras across the Southwest for a new 13-episode series, which is debuting in September on New Mexico's public stations. Episodes are being uplinked from Albuquerque to public stations across the nation.

Curtis Smith (right), a New Mexico State University Extension horticulture specialist, looks at a native plants at Palo Duro Canyon State Park's Interpretative Center with Neal Hinders, owner of Canyon's Edge Plants, a nursery that specializes in xeric plants. (09/12/2002) (NMSU Agricultural Communications Photo by Tomilee Turner)

"The response across the Southwest to uplinked New Mexico-based programs was so impressive that we decided to produce segments in the gardens of our new audiences," said Terry Canup, executive producer and head of New Mexico State University's department of agricultural communications.

Public stations in Austin, Dallas, Denver, southern and central California and other Southwestern locations aired programs from the old series. The new series will feature gardens in Flagstaff, Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; Palm Springs, Calif.; El Paso and Amarillo, Texas; Denver and Boulder, Colo.; Las Vegas, Nev.; and several New Mexico locations.

"The show will have more beautiful locations, a wider variety of growing conditions and more innovative ideas, " Canup said.

Each episode features a travel destination with two gardens and a public garden from elsewhere in the Southwest. Innovative gardeners and basic how-to information will be part of each show, which will have segments from several states.

"Even when we visit beautiful gardens, it's not just to look but to learn something new about gardening," said Curtis Smith, show host and horticulture specialist with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service.

Extension professionals from each state have brought producers together with knowledgeable private gardeners like Jim Knoff, a pioneer in xeric gardening from Boulder, Colo.

Footage from past and future episodes will be used to develop instructional gardening tapes for Extension master gardeners and the public. Extension and its agricultural communications department have produced "Southwest Yard and Garden" since spring 2000.

In New Mexico, the program airs Saturdays at 9:30 a.m. on KNME-TV in Albuquerque, 10 a.m. on KENW-TV in Portales and 11:30 a.m. on KRWG-TV in Las Cruces.