University of Vermont Extension
Department of Plant and Soil Science
FLOWER AND VEGETABLE WINNERS FOR
Dr. Leonard Perry,
University of Vermont
Each year since 1932, the
All-America Selections (AAS) program has been judging new flowers
vegetables nationwide, and giving their prestigious award to the
best. These are displayed in official gardens, such
as ours for flowers at the Burlington (Vermont) Waterfront Park
(pss.uvm.edu/ppp/aaswp.html). This year has seen the awarding of
winners, in addition to those previously awarded this year, making
winners for 2014 the most in one year since this program began.
Among the four national winners are
a pepper and three flowers. NuMex Easter
is the latest pepper in this line from the Chile Pepper Institute at
State University (hence the name), so is edible as a chile pepper.
The “Easter” refers to the pastel-colored fruits
in lavender to cream, turning orange when mature. It is similar to
NuMex Twilight which has
more red fruits too. The narrow, conical
fruits are in clusters of 5 to 6 on tops of short, 6-inch high
plants. This ornamental pepper works well along borders,
walks, or in pots in full sun.
Angelonia Serenita Pink is great for
beginning gardeners, as it is easy to grow and low maintenance, yet
different annual flower for even more advanced gardeners. The deep
pink flowers of this summer
snapdragon (not really a true snapdragon) are on upright spikes
about one foot
high, and last through the summer. Once
established, it will tolerate some drought.
Plant this annual in masses, along walks or edges of beds, or in
pots. Although preferring full sun, it
will tolerate part shade (4 to 6 hours of direct sun daily).
Florific Sweet Orange is a New
Guinea impatiens, not the regular garden impatiens, which
means a couple key points. It loves full
sun but can tolerate part shade of 4 to 6 hours of direct sun, and
get the downy mildew disease of shade impatiens. This
hybrid has huge 2-inch flowers of light salmon-orange, with darker
centers to petals. These are showy
against the shiny, dark green leaves.
These, too, are great in pots, but most showy when planted in masses
Akila Daisy White is an
osteospermum, also known as South African daisy from where its
came. This cultivar (cultivated variety)
is easily grown from seed, unlike many of its relatives, and unlike
osteospermums has a yellow center. The 2-inch
across, daisy-type flowers are held on mounded or bushy-habit
plants. These need full sun, and once established
will tolerate some drought. Plant these
in pots, or group in masses for best effect.
In addition to the four additional
national AAS winners this year, there are four additional regional
vegetables. While these performed best
in certain regions of the country, they should grow well in many
too. Saladmore Bush is a hybrid cucumber
which was a winner in the Southeast.
This new slicing cucumber has good disease resistance and, as its
indicates, being a bush-type is good in large containers or
Patio Baby is a hybrid eggplant, its
small 3-inch edible fruit being attractive as an ornamental too.
Fruit have excellent taste, being less bitter
than many similar. The compact plants,
under 2-feet high, are good in containers. Patio Baby was a
Giant Ristra is a hybrid pepper that
looks like a Marconi type but with the heat of a cayenne. Use the
bright red 7-inch fruits too for
drying, or just for decoration. This
plant can reach 2 feet or more high in ideal climates. A winner in
the Mountain and Southwest
regions, this pepper takes 110 days from sowing seeds to harvest.
Rivoli radish was a winner in
several regions, having large rounded bright red roots on the
white on the inside. With larger roots,
space Rivoli farther apart than other radishes. It remains quite
tasty, even if left in the
garden for a while. This is an early
bearer, taking only 30 days from sowing seeds to harvest.
More on these new selections and
their culture, other recent AAS winners, past winners, and seed
sources can be
found online (www.all-americaselections.org/).