Eleven new garden plants have been awarded the prestigious honor of being an All America Selection (AAS) for 1999. These new cultivars have been judged as superior in their class based on their performance in test gardens all over the country.

For the flower garden, the first award winner is Begonia ‘Pin-Up Flame,’ selected for its distinctive colored petals. Although it is a single-flowered type, the yellow petals are quite large and striking with orange-red accents around the edge. ‘Flame’ is new in the Pin-Up series of tuberous-rooted begonias, which grow best in the shade.

Next, we have Marigold ‘Bonanza Bolero,’ selected for its unique golden yellow flowers flecked with mahogany red in variable patterns. Bonanza Bolero has large, double blooms that continue to perform well through all kinds of summer weather.

Although not as well known as begonias and marigolds, Osteospermum is a great little daisy-like bedding annual. ‘Passion Mix’ was selected for its compact growing habit of 12-18 inches and its bountiful blooms. Passion Mix has single blooms in rose, purple or pure white, all with a contrasting azure blue center.

Portulaca ‘Sundial Peach’ offers a new color in the well-established Sundial series. Also known as moss rose, this is the first Portulaca to receive the AAS award. Sundial Peach is a pastel coral, semi-double bloom on 6-8 inch tall plants. Portulaca are well adapted to summer heat and drought and are great for container gardens.

Although Tritoma ‘Flamenco’ is actually a perennial, this new cultivar blooms from the seed the first year, if started early as transplants. Also known as red-hot-poker, tritoma is known botanically as Kniphofia uvaria. Flamenco sports 8-inch flower spikes in a mix of yellow, orange and red on long stems of 30-32 inches.

Verbena ‘Quartz Burgundy’ has a distinct deep red, burgundy wine color that has not previously been available in the annual bedding type verbenas. Quartz Burgundy produces large flower clusters with a velvety texture and continues blooming well throughout the growing season. This new cultivar also has good resistance to the powdery mildew disease.

Zinnia ‘Profusion Cherry’ also shows good disease resistance, heat and drought tolerance, and a profusion of blooms throughout the growing season. Profusion Cherry is a single-flowered, mid-height zinnia reaching 12-18 inches. Zinnia ‘Profusion Orange’ boasts all the same good traits in an orange-colored blossom.

Over in the vegetable garden, AAS judges selected four new cultivars as deserving of the award.

Pumpkin ‘Wee-B-Little’ is a true miniature orange pumpkin, weighing in at one-half to 1 pound. Wee-B-Little is great for table decorations, as well as for children’s gardening projects and small, compact gardens. The plants spread about 6-8 feet, but with many short, 18-inch vines.

Squash ‘Eight Ball’ is the first dark zucchini-green, round summer squash. This baby squash should be harvested very young, up to the size of a tennis ball to keep the plants productive and for best quality produce. Eight Ball starts producing at the very tender age of 35-42 days from seed!

Tomato ‘Juliet’ is a great new miniature salad tomato with an oblong, glossy red fruit borne in clusters, similar to grapes. Juliet holds its quality well on the vine and produces bountiful harvest.

Watermelon ‘New Queen’ is a new icebox-sized watermelon with iridescent orange flesh. The 5-6 pound fruits carry very little rind and have a sweet, firm flesh. New Queen is ready to harvest 75-85 days from seed.

The AAS winners are selected from many new cultivars based on garden performance, as well as production performance in the greenhouse. Although no plant offers a guarantee of success in an individual garden, the AAS winners have proved themselves worthy through many different types of growing conditions. Try these new selections alongside your old standbys so you’ll have a means of comparison. AAS winners should be available through local garden centers and mail-order catalogs next spring.

 


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