Garden Clippings: All-American Selections

All-America Selections adds three new plants to long list of winners

| January 2008

  • Eggplant_Hansel.jpg
    OUTSTANDING: A miniature eggplant called 'Hansel' took top honors in the vegetable category. Because of its smaller size, this eggplant works great in smaller gardens.
    Courtesy of All-America Selections
  • Osteo_AstiWhite.jpg
    SUPERIOR: The award for the bedding plant category went to the white African daisy 'Asti White' osteospermum.
    Courtesy of All-America Selections
  • Viola_SkippyXLPlum.jpg
    WINNER: 'Skippy XL Plum-Gold' viola was recently named the cool season plant winner by AAS.
    Courtesy of All-America Selections

  • Eggplant_Hansel.jpg
  • Osteo_AstiWhite.jpg
  • Viola_SkippyXLPlum.jpg

Last year, All-America Selections (AAS) celebrated its 75th anniversary of introducing superior flower and vegetable varieties that thrive in the home garden. In honor of its celebration, AAS chose five past winners that have been stalwarts in the garden since their introduction. These five 'classics' were 'Big Beef' tomato, 'Ideal Violet' dianthus, 'Majestic Giants Mix' pansy, 'Ultra Crimson Star' petunia and 'Wave Purple' petunia.

In 1994, 'Big Beef' tomato became an AAS winner. This tomato variety had all the characteristics gardeners want: early production, large size, great taste and disease resistance. It's a variety that I'm sure has made it into most veggie gardens over the past decade and will continue to grow in the garden for years to come.

'Ideal Violet' dianthus was introduced in 1992. This plant, with its single violet blooms, has made quite an impression because of its tolerance to both cold and heat, which can be a problem for those of us gardeners who are blessed with severe temperature fluctuations throughout the seasons. Other dianthus species may not survive through summer or winter in some climates.

An oldie but a goody, 'Majestic Giants Mix' pansy was first introduced in 1966. With its ability to initiate flowers without the need for cold temperatures, 'Majestic Giants Mix' was the plant that allowed Southern gardeners to enjoy colorful pansy blooms without an artificial cold treatment.

'Ultra Crimson Star' petunia was the first AAS bedding plant winner in 1988. It demonstrated more superior traits than that of previous petunia varieties, in that it was an early grower and had a stable star pattern on bright, large blooms that don't need to be pinched to continue looking great.

In my opinion, one of the biggest splashes made by an AAS winner came in 1995, when 'Wave Purple' petunia was introduced. My annual plantings have not been boring since. The low-spreading habit of this petunia, coupled with its need for minimal care, made this plant a hit from the start. Bright magenta may not have been the color of choice for every gardener, but it did open the gates for a 'wave' of other colored petunias suitable for any taste.



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