Recent changes to the introduction schedule at All-America Selections mean winners, like this Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’, will be introduced and available as soon as they are selected. (Photo courtesy of All-America Selections)
Just last week I received a packet of seeds from All-America Selections with instructions to plant the seeds immediately.
This is a dramatic change from the way AAS has introduced its winning plants in the past. I used to get seeds to trial a year in advance of their availability to gardeners.
This means gardeners will get to take advantage of all the new winners as soon as they’re available.
The Echinacea purpurea ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ is the 2010 Flower Award Winner and it will be available this spring. If seeds are started now, this beautiful new perennial will flower its first year.
I think ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ is a perfect name for this Echinacea. From the photos and the AAS description, it’s easy to see the new deep rose-purple color. The 3-4-inch flowers are said to retain their color on the plant longer.
The plant grows to 24 inches in a full sun garden and it has more flowers per plant thanks to its basal branching habit. AAS says it blooms continually without deadheading.
AAS tested the “PowWow Wild Berry’ in trial gardens across the US and in Canada and found it’s hardy to Zone 3.
For 75 years AAS has been the go-to organization for new flower and vegetable seed varieties found to perform exceptionally well during impartial trials throughout North America.
AAS was the brainchild of horticulturist W. Ray Hastings of Harrisburg, Penn. In the 1930s he saw the need for a network of independent trial gardens for testing new flowers and vegetables.
Hastings received $1000 in seed money from the Southern Seedsmen Association in 1932. AAS announced 19 new varieties of flowers and vegetables in 1933 and hundreds of flowers, vegetables and bedding plants have been selected since then.
Gardeners are the real beneficiaries of the annual trials. Seed companies and other breeders submit their seeds for testing and objective judges select cultivars offering significant improvements.
There are two trial gardens in Colorado. One is located at Welby Gardens in Denver and the other is the CSU flower trial garden in Fort Collins. Judges evaluate plants for new flower forms, new flower colors, fragrances, disease or pest resistance, or a new plant habit.
Because of extensive testing, gardeners can trust the AAS winners to perform. Seed catalogs identify cultivars as AAS winners and plants at the garden centers have the distinctive AAS emblem on their labels.
I’m looking forward to seeing how ‘PowWow Wild Berry’ does in my garden this year and will report on its progress. In addition to the coneflower, here are other AAS flower award winners that will be available this season:
- Marigold ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’
- Zinnia ‘Double Zahara Cherry’
- Zinnia ‘Double Zahara Fire’
- Gaillardia ‘Mesa Yellow’
- Snapdragon ‘Twinny Peach’
- Viola ‘Endurio Sky Blue Martien’
- Zinnia ‘Zahara Starlight Rose’