I’m hopeful one of my patio containers will include Pelargonium x hortum “Pinto Premium White to Rose,” a 2013 All-America Selection bedding plant winner. I received a packet of the geranium seed last year and am doing my best to start the seeds to later be transplanted to a patio container.
My beloved VegTrug is home to Artwork broccoli, Amanda lettuce and Green Beret spinach. Artwork is an AAS winner as well. As I also mentioned in a prior post, I’m volunteering to help grow a vegetable container garden at work. These too will be planted with some AAS winners.
My familiarity with AAS is limited to viewing the flower and vegetable Display Garden at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Beyond strolling past the beds and looking at the selections, I never took the time to understand the organization’s purpose. All-America Selections officially describes itself as an educational, non-profit that evaluates new seed-grown flowers and vegetables from around the world.
Their web site told me much more. First, AAS is independent. Since the 1930s the organization has set about earning gardeners’ trust and promoting varieties by testing new, unsold varieties. Annually they conduct impartial trials all over North America so that gardeners can have an understanding of what grows well locally. Winners are named three times a year: January, July and November. Of course there are multiple divisions in the Flower, Bedding Plant, Vegetable, and Cool Season Bedding Plant categories, such as ornamental veg, edible, perennial. You get the idea.
Winning seed meets criteria for important qualities such as pest or virus resistance, early or late blooming, length of blooming (tops on my list!), novel colors, flower forms and yield.
How important is AAS to you when making garden selections?
March 24, 2016 at 9:37 am
I write about AAS and new selections in my newspaper column every year because more people need to know about the organization and how they work. The great plants they have promoted over the years indicates the process really works. I always look for the AAS logo when choosing seeds. They have a terrific website too.
March 24, 2016 at 12:21 pm
(Argh, I hate WordPress comments sometimes! Why do my comments take 2 or 3 times to enter?)
To be honest, I never look for “winners” when choosing seeds, or at least it’s not the first thing I look for. If I go to their website and filter by my region, there are only 10 winners listed. Not exactly spoiling for choice there, especially for a gardener who strives for diversity. Also, “awards” like this might give the impression that the noted plants are “the best”, which is the wrong way to look at it. There’s something to be said for discovering for yourself which plants are better than others — it’s part of the fun!
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