Perennial goes annual, wins award

Gaillardia variety, four other plants are All-America Selections

In The Garden

September 05, 2004|By Susan Reimer | Susan Reimer,Sun Staff

Three vegetable plants, a pair of annuals and a perennial that has been converted to an annual have been named the 2005 All-America Selections.

The winners, chosen for their superior performance in impartial seed trials around North America, were announced this month. They should be available to gardeners next spring.

"We've been testing seeds at our various locations for the last three years," said Nona Koivula, executive director of All-America Selections. "These are the ones that broke out of the pack."

The winners include Gaillardia aristata 'Arizona Sun,' a bright red and yellow flower that is usually considered a perennial.

"There is a trend right now with breeders to turn perennials into annuals," said Koivula. "Annuals provide color all season long while perennials have a shorter flowering period."

The first violet vinca ever available, 'First Kiss Blueberry,' is also among the award winners. It, too, will flower all summer long.

The zinnia 'Magellan Coral' won for the quality of its double bloom.

Among the vegetable winners, eggplant 'Fairy Tale' is a miniature that is perfect for the container garden, a growing trend among vegetable gardeners.

'Sugary,' a cherry tomato, won for its very sweet taste, as did 'Bonbon,' a winter squash with a creamy texture as opposed to the more stringy varieties.

Koivula said the winning varieties are available through Park Seed Co., (www.park seed.com) and will be at various Frank's nurseries in the region in time for spring planting.

For more information about these award-winning plants and their availability, visit the Web site, www.all-americaselections. org.

All-America Selections have been made each year since 1933. The organization says its judges "look for significantly improved qualities such as earliness to bloom or harvest, disease or pest tolerance, novel colors or flavors, novel flower forms, total yield, length of flowering or harvest and overall performance."

Sources

Park Seed Co.

1 Parkton Ave.

Greenwood, SC 29647

800-213-0076

www.parkseed.com

Frank's Nursery & Crafts

www.franks.com

Frank's locations include Towson, Catonsville, Owings Mills, Pasadena and Severna Park.

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