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Ten flowers and two vegetables have been declared All-America
Selections award winners for 2003. AAS is a non-profit organization
for evaluating new seed-grown flowers and vegetables from around
the world for home garden performance. All of this new year’s
winners will be available this coming garden season in seed or
already-started transplant form. To buy seedlings, ask for them by
variety name.
Ten flowers and two vegetables have been declared All-America Selections award winners for 2003. AAS is a non-profit organization for evaluating new seed-grown flowers and vegetables from around the world for home garden performance. All of this new year’s winners will be available this coming garden season in seed or already-started transplant form. To buy seedlings, ask for them by variety name.

This week I’ll be covering the six of the flower winners; next week, we’ll review the two vegetable winners and the remaining four flower winners.

“Blue Wave” petunia

An addition to the popular Wave series, this petunia offers velvety, dark-blue, 2-inch flowers that cover the trailing plant. These plants are capable of spreading 3 to 4 feet like a groundcover. They are ideal for hanging baskets, containers and window boxes where you can take advantage of their unique trailing habit.

“Merlin Blue Morn” petunia

This second petunia winner is a distinctly different blue and white petunia. It’s pure white in the center with a soft transition to velvety blue on the petal edge. The 3-inch flowers and bicolor pattern make it highly visible from a distance. Plants grow 15 to 20 inches high and spread 18 to 30 inches in full sun. It can be used for containers or in-ground planting.

“Prairie Sun” rudbeckia

For the second consecutive year, the sunflower family is represented with an All American. This robust rudbeckia has distinctive flowers. The light green central cone blends with the golden-yellow petals, which are tipped a lighter, primrose yellow. The 5-inch flowers bloom on branching plants that grow 3 feet high and make a strong statement in any full-sun garden. Flower stems are sufficiently long for quality cut flowers, too. Great for background plantings or as a centerpiece in large containers.

“Jaio Dark Red” vinca rosea

Likewise, for the second straight year another vinca has made it. This one features red flowers with a small white center on 2-inch flowers. Vincas are heat and drought-tolerant. This plant matures at 15 inches, with a spread of 20 inches.

“Corona Cherry Magic” dianthus

This is the first dianthus with a capricious bicolor pattern. Flowers can be entirely cherry red, entirely lavender or a mosaic of both colors. The unpredictable design is whimsical. The 2-inch flowers bloom on plants that are 7 to 9 inches high and wide.

“Can Can Scarlet” carnation

This is one of the most fragrant garden carnations. The spicy fragrance will almost fill a room when the double, 2-inch flowers are cut and used in a bouquet. Great for cut flowers or used in the garden. The gray-green foliage contrasts with the bright scarlet flowers. Plants reach 12 to 14 inches high.

All these All America Selections winners will be available at garden centers this spring and summer. Look for the red, white and blue AAS display signs. You can also buy seeds from large mail-order seed companies. More information is available at the AAS Web site: www.allamericaselections.org.

Remember, next week, I’ll review the rest of the AAS winners.

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