All-America Winners for 2000 - Indiana Yard and Garden - Purdue Consumer Horticulture

All-America Winners for 2000

Nine new garden plants will be the first to have been awarded the prestigious honor of being an All-America Selection (AAS) in the new millennium! These new cultivars have been judged as superior in their classes, based on their performance in test gardens all over the country.

For the flower garden, the first award winner is Cosmos sulphureus ‘Cosmic Orange,’ a compact plant reaching about 12 inches tall. Cosmic Orange promises to provide a blanket of bright orange, 2-inch blooms all summer. Cosmos is a great annual flower for the sunny garden.

Next is Dianthus ‘Melody Pink,’ with dainty, single blooms with fringed petals. The plants reach about 2 feet tall and will produce a bounty of long-stemmed bouquets for cut flowers all summer.

Although sunflowers have been quite popular for years, none have met the criteria for AAS selection&emdash;until now. ‘Soraya’ is distinctly orange (rather than golden yellow) with a chocolate-brown center. Soraya makes a bold statement in the garden with its vigorous branching habit and reaches 5-6 feet tall. But it is also a good source for cut flowers, producing 4-6-inch blooms on long stems.

It would appear that the AAS judges were quite partial to the color orange this year, as they also selected Tithonia ‘Fiesta Del Sol’ as one of the nine winners. Also known as Mexican Sunflower, Tithonia is a great summer annual that thrives on heat and humidity. Fiesta Del Sol is a dwarf version, reaching 2-3 feet tall and is topped by single, 2-3 inch daisy-like blossoms.

Vinca (Catharanthus roseus) ‘Stardust Orchid’ was selected for the large orchid-colored blooms with a white eye. The blooms literally blanket the compact plants, which reach 14-16 inches in both height and spread. It’s a great plant for the low flower border, as well as container and patio gardens.

Over in the vegetable garden, AAS judges selected four new cultivars as deserving of the award. Cabbage ‘Savoy Express’ is an early, savory (crinkle-leafed) cabbage with sweet flavor that is great for coleslaw. The compact heads are ready to harvest in just 55 days from transplants and can be grown for either spring or fall crops.

‘Mr. Big’ is a large-podded garden pea, easy to shell with high yields of sweet, tender peas. The plants grow best if given a trellis or other support to the 2-3-foot tall plant. Pods are ready to pick and shell in about 58-62 days.

For those who like colorful bell peppers, ‘Blushing Beauty’ promises to deliver in about 72-75 days from transplants. The peppers change color from ivory to pink to red as they mature, and the thick-walled fruits are sweet at every stage. The compact (18-inch) plants are ideal for container gardening.

Sweet corn ‘Indian Summer’ is the first corn cultivar to combine the attractiveness of ornamental corn with the sugar of supersweet corn. Indian Summer’s cobs hold a mixture of yellow, white, red and purple kernels. The ears reach about 8 inches and are ready to harvest about 79 days from planting seed. The color develops more strongly as the ears get more mature and will be even more intensified with cooking.

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 proven themselves worthy over a broad range 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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