All-American Selections Winners for 2017
Every year, the Trial and Display Garden at Reiman Gardens evaluates new plants for All-American Selections (AAS), a nationally recognized non-profit organization. AAS has been operating since 1933 with the mission of promoting new plant cultivars that have superior garden performance. AAS has announced 12 national winners for the year 2017 based on trials from over 200 gardens in 2016. Keep these cultivars in mind when selecting seeds to start in this and the following months!
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Celosia ‘Asian Garden’ (Celosia argentea) features a multitude of rose-colored flowers and dark green leaves on a bushy habit. ‘Asian Garden’ drew a lot of attention last year, planted behind the gardener and grandchild LEGO® brick sculpture, and it attracts lots of pollinators too!
Dianthus ‘Supra Pink F1’ (Dianthus interspecific) provides three seasons of mottled pink and frilly blooms. Like many Dianthus, ‘Supra Pink F1’ is a perennial in Iowa if the winter is not too wet. The novelty of the flower will definitely charm you!
Fennel ‘Antares F1’ (Foeniculum vulgare) is the very first Fennel to become an AAS winner! This cultivar was praised for its uniformity and sweet licorice flavor. Fennel is a fantastic plant with many uses – it has an edible bulb, ornamental fronds, and is a favorite of swallowtail caterpillars.
Geranium ‘Calliope® Medium Dark Red’ (Pelargonium x interspecific) has deep red flowers and a compact branching habit. The leaves and flowers look like typical zonal geranium faire, but this plant features heavier blooms and flourishes in challenging conditions.
Okra ‘Candle Fire F1’ (Abelmoschus esculentus) features bright red fruit and high marks for productivity and taste. ‘Candle Fire’ produces late into the season, but does not become ugly—beautiful blooms and pods up to a hard frost.
Pepper ‘Mad Hatter F1’ (Capsicum baccatum) is a novelty pepper with a flared, flat bottom. It has high yields and a sweet taste with only mild heat. ‘Mad Hatter’ is a brand-new concept in the bishop’s hat pepper world. Most can get quite hot, but ‘Mad Hatter’ keeps its cool, only displaying a gentle heat and some fruits do not have any heat at all. The shape and the flavor of this pepper will make it a novel new addition to your garden.
Winter Squash ‘Honeybaby F1’ (Cucurbita moschata) is a compact 2-3’ vine with sweet and nutty fruit. Its productivity earned it high marks. Grow this in summer to make all those tasty soups you want in winter—this squash freezes nicely.
Tomato ‘Patio Choice Yellow F1’ (Solanum lycopersicum) is a dwarf cherry tomato with bright yellow fruit and a sweet taste. This variety was bred to be used in containers and other small spaces and is a heavy fruit producer.
Vinca ‘Mega Bloom Orchid Halo F1’ and ‘Mega Bloom Pink Halo F1’ (Catharanthus roseus) feature richly colored blossoms with white eyes, uniform growth habit, and long bloom times. Vincas are a beautiful option for annual gardens and the spreading habit of these two will fill in open spaces quickly. The flowers are very attractive and bloom even through the hottest, driest Iowa summer days.
Watermelon ‘Mini Love F1’ (Citrullus lanatus) features small sized fruits on a small sized vine. This watermelon is crack-resistant and has a thin rind, as well as a sweet, crisp taste. “Personal-sized” watermelons are gaining in popularity as food waste becomes a hot-button topic in the discussion on feeding the world.
We trialed these plants last year here at Reiman Gardens, and will be displaying them again this year! Please come check out our Trial and Display Garden to see these great plants and new plants we are trialing for 2018!
Prepared by Lindsey Smith, Collections Curator