I really appreciate how All-America Selections has changed its process for announcing its winners. Instead of releasing all the new plants at once, the organization makes its plant announcement as soon as the selections are made.
Gardeners can then look forward to seeing these new plants in upcoming catalogs, mail order companies and websites…and watch for them at lawn and garden retail stores next spring.
‘Cheyenne Spirit’ is the perfect echinacea for gardens in our area. It’s a gorgeous, first-year flowering echinacea that captures the spirit of the North American plains.
According to the folks at AAS, this offering produces a mix of flower colors from rich purple, pink, red and orange tones to lighter yellows, creams and white. ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ doesn’t require a lot of water and offers a wide-range of uses. AAS recommends planting in a perennial border, in a mass landscape planting, in a butterfly garden or as a cut flower.
Have you noticed how many new zinnias are on the market these days? These old-fashioned favorites are making a big comeback in a big way. In fact, All-America Selections picked one special zinnia as its 2010 Bedding Plant Award Winner. Here’s a close look at ‘Zahara Starlight Rose’. (Photos and text provided by All-America Selections.)
Zinnias are old-fashioned flowers, but these rose and white flowers are a new bicolor for this sun-loving class of annuals.
‘Zahara Starlight Rose’ was bred by PanAmerican Seed Company and tested in trial gardens throughout the country.
Important traits of this new zinnia are its proven resistances to leaf spot and mildew. These superior qualities result in long-lasting zinnia plants that provide generous color all season.
Because ‘Zahara Starlight Rose’ is heat and drought tolerant, it’s easy to grow in gardens and is a perfect plant for the novice or experienced gardener.
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.
‘Celebrity’ is one of my favorite tomatoes for the garden and an All-America Selections winner.
Ever since I discovered ‘Celebrity’ tomatoes, they’ve played an important role in my vegetable garden. This variety is easy to grow and it also carries the red, white and blue seal of an All-America Selections winner.
Since 1932 AAS has helped the home gardener sort through new plant varieties and identify those that are improved over others on the market.
AAS was the brainchild of horticulturist W. Ray Hastings of Harrisburg, Penn. 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.