University of Vermont Extension 
Department of Plant and Soil Science

Winter News Article

Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension Professor
University of Vermont
Each year the best of the new flowers, blooming the first year from seed, are chosen as winners by the All-America Selections program.  There are four winning flowers for 2011 including a blanket flower, an ornamental kale, a scarlet sage, and a viola.

‘Arizona Apricot’ is a gaillardia or blanket flower with a new color for its typical daisy flowers.  The 3-inch wide flowers are a rich apricot with yellow edges.  There are many flowers through much of the season on compact plants only about a foot high.  Since it is short, it is best used in containers, at the fronts of beds, or in mass. 

Although this is a perennial, this gaillardia blooms from seeds the first year so acts like an annual and can be judged in this program.  Removing old flowers may encourage more blooms. This plant requires little maintenance, and once established tolerates drought.  It begins bloom about 12 weeks from sowing seeds.  Like the other winning flowers, this one prefers full sun.

‘Glamour Red’ is an ornamental kale with frilly or fringed leaves.  Heads, about a foot wide when mature, are bright purple in the center surrounded by green and then dark purple leaves on the outside.  Leaves are not waxy so are more shiny than many kales.  They begin coloring when night temperatures fall below 55 degrees (F) for two weeks, and plants are at least 3 month from sowing.  It is a “cool season” award winner, good for growing in the north where it is frost tolerant into November.  Also it is the first kale, either edible or ornamental, to win in the 78 years of the All-America Selections program. 

‘Summer Jewel Red’ is a scarlet sage type of salvia with many flowers beginning early and continuing through the season.  The half-inch flowers are on spikes 18 to 20 inches tall, on compact plants about 16 inches wide at most.  The bright red flowers are not only colorful but attractive to hummingbirds, and hold up well in rain and wind.  It begins bloom about two weeks earlier than similar salvia, about 50 days from sowing.  Use it to add color to mixed containers and borders, or in mass plantings for a knock-out effect.

‘Shangri-La Marina’ is a viola—similar to a pansy only with smaller flowers.  Flowers on this new selection are just over an inch wide, and as with other violas bloom early in the season.  This one blooms even earlier than most, only 70 days from sowing, and continues through much of the season.  The light blue flowers have a dark blue center (“face”) surrounded by a white border.  Although a biennial (living for two years), this viola blooms the first year and if it survives over winter will rebloom the second spring as well.  Space the 6-inch high compact plants about 8 to 12 inches apart along the fronts of beds, or use in pots on porches and patios. 

Photos of these, and more All-America Selections winners in both vegetables and flowers, can be found online ( Other recent flower winners include the purple coneflower ‘PowWow Wild Berry’, ‘Mesa Yellow’—another low gaillardia only yellow, ‘Moonsong Deep Orange’ African marigold, and a couple new double zinnias.

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