Gardening gives rise to so many considerations when deciding just which plants will merit our time, efforts, and especially our hard-earned money. One thing I always want to know is which plants will do well in my climate. Beyond that, I like to know what they actually look like. Who among us has not ordered at least one plant only to wonder upon its arrival what in the world we were thinking? In addition, I also appreciate knowing which plants have proven themselves to be particularly meritorious in a wide range of growing conditions.
Each year, the people at All-America Selections trial and judge a number of new plant introductions at trial grounds all across the country as well as some places in Canada. They report that: "Once the AAS entries are transplanted into a Trial Ground, the AAS Judges (professional horticulturalists) observe and evaluate the garden performance. Those judges, at the end of the trial season, then send their scores and evaluations to the AAS Office and an independent accounting firm for tabulation. Only the best performers (best scores) become AAS Winners. Subsequently, only those plants can then be labeled and sold with the special AAS Winner tags and become available for immediate distribution to consumers."
Below is the report sent out by the AAS office, including their feedback and opinions on each variety they selected as winners.
The results are in for 2013 and the All-America Selections Award Winners are:
(click on photos to enlarge)
2013 AAS Flower Award Winner: Canna generalis `South Pacific Scarlet'
This variety is grown from seed, not tuber. It is compact in habit and well suited for both landscape and container use. Canna 'South Pacific Scarlet' prefers warm and humid conditions over 77F. This variety is more vigorous, more uniform, and has more basal branching than Canna Tropical Red.
2013 AAS Flower Award Winner: Echinacea hybrida 'Cheyenne Spirit'
This stunning first-year flowering echinacea captures the spirit of the North American plains by producing a delightful mix of flower colors from rich purple, pink, red and orange tones to lighter yellows, creams and white. This wide range of flower colors on well branched, durable plants are sure to please the color preferences of any gardener. As an added bonus, `Cheyenne Spirit' does not require a lot of water and offers a wide range of uses from the perennial border, in a mass landscape planting, in a butterfly garden or as a cut flower.
The AAS judges and their trial garden visitors raved about the attractiveness of the flowers and the range of colors, while appreciating its sturdiness and low water needs. Even during wind and rain, this compact plant does not topple over like many echinacea. The variety of intense, bright colors adds sparkle to the garden from mid-summer through fall. As an added bonus, this maintenance-free echinacea doesn't even need deadheading to provide summer long beauty.
2013 AAS Bedding Plant Award Winner: Geranium (Pelargonium x hortorum) 'Pinto Premium White to Rose' F1
This addition to the 'Pinto Premium' series is a must-have! Not only is the flower coloration unique and ombre-like, but the numerous 5-inch blooms are long-lasting in the garden. Petals start out white then deepen to rose-pink as flowers mature, giving an attractive bicolor effect. Dense, well-branched plants sport deep green leaves with darker zones that contrast beautifully with the light colored flowers. 'Pinto Premium White to Rose' is a great choice for carefree, colorful summer garden beds or patio containers.
2013 AAS Bedding Plant Award Winner: Zinnia `Profusion Double Deep Salmon'
An abundance of salmon colored double flowers cover attractive, compact plants from late spring through fall. In trials the dramatic double blooms offered a unique salmon color that held the color better and later into the season than the comparisons. The bright foliage covers spent blossoms giving a much fresher appearance without the need to deadhead. Mature plants are 8-14 inches tall and are perfect as a low or medium height divider. This outstanding garden performer offers disease resistance to both Alternaria and powdery mildew.
2013 AAS Bedding Plant Award Winner: Zinnia 'Profusion Double Hot Cherry'
'Double Hot Cherry' offers an abundance of vivid, deep-rose, double flowers. This continuous bloomer covers well-mounded plants from late spring through fall. In trials the dramatic, large, double blooms held the color significantly better and later into the season than comparisons. The plant covers spent blossoms, giving a much fresher appearance without deadheading. Mature plants 8-14 inches tall are perfect as a low or medium height divider. This excellent garden performer also offers disease resistance to Alternaria and powdery mildew.
2013 AAS Vegetable Award Winner: Melon (Cucumis melo L.) 'Melemon' F1
The earliness, high yield on healthy, strong plants and superior taste all contributed to this melon becoming an AAS Winner. Judges related the taste of this melon to honeydew, but with a surprising and delicious tanginess. A uniform fruit shape makes it perfect for market growers as well as home gardeners. Each personal-sized fruit has refreshing crisp flesh and a unique sweet-tart taste.
2013 AAS Vegetable Award Winner: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) 'Jasper' F1
This is a tall indeterminate cherry tomato with high resistance to Late Blight. Excellent taste, a long harvest window and outstanding performance in the trials contributes to this tomato's success. Judges liked the texture and sweetness of the tomato as well as the uniformity of the fruits that grow on vigorous, healthy plants. Jasper is a high yielding variety with fruits that stay on the vine and then hold well after ripening, both on the vine and post-harvest. Vigorous vines require little or no fertilization. An added bonus is fusarium resistance and the ability to overcome weather-related stresses.
2013 AAS Vegetable Award Winner: Watermelon (Citrullus linatus) 'Harvest Moon' F1
The first ever hybrid, triploid, seedless watermelon to win a coveted AAS Award! Similar to the popular heirloom variety, `Moon and Stars,' 'Harvest Moon' is an improvement in that it features healthy, shorter vines that produce medium-sized fruits and sweet, crisp pinkish-red flesh. 'Harvest Moon' retains the familiar dark green rind with yellow dots, like that of `Moon and Stars' but is seedless, earlier to ripen, higher yielding and better tasting. As one judge said, "What's not to like?"
Consumers will find the seed for sale in the coming months as supply becomes available through catalog companies, seed packets, mail order companies, as well as through various websites. AAS Winners are also available as young plants in lawn and garden retail stores.
(Photos and plant descriptions courtesy of All-America Selections and used with permission)
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