2008 Award Winning Plant Selections

Mary Ann Ryan
Adams County Master Gardener

Every year, plants are trialed for their successes and failures in the landscape. Following are some annuals, vegetables and perennials that have been selected as award winning plants for 2008.

The All-American Selections are chosen for their superior performance in test gardens all over the country. These selections are based on performance in gardens and in greenhouses. Below are the winners in the bedding plant category and vegetable category. Check out the following website to learn more about the All-American Selections. http://www.all-americaselections.org/

Osteospermum Asti White’. Chosen for its bright white, two-inch daisy flower with a blue center, this annual will bloom all summer long. It will reach about 20 inches tall and can tolerate a light frost. This annual works well in a container in semi sun to full sun.

Eggplant ‘Hansel’ has been chosen for its clusters of 3 to 6 fruit that bear on 36-inch plants. The fruit is a dark purple and can be harvested at 2 to 3 inches for baby eggplant or will reach up to 10 inches if left on the plant. Because of its small size, ‘Hansel’ works well as a container plant.

The All-American Rose winners for the 2008 season are ‘Dream Come True’ and ‘Mardi Gras’. The All-American Roses are selected after a two-year trial. They are chosen for disease resistance, flower production, color, and fragrance. Check out http://www.rose.org/winning-roses/ for more information about the winners.

‘Dream Come True’ is classified as a grandiflora, hardy to zone 5. It is upright and bushy, with yellow blushed, ruby red flowers. ‘Mardi Gras’’ is a floribunda, also hardy to zone 5. The flower is yellow orange that becomes pink as it ages. This rose will grow to four feet and has an upright habit.

The 2008 perennial plant of the year is Geranium ‘Rozanne’. Chosen for its violet blue flowers with chartreuse marbling in the foliage, this perennial will bloom from late spring through mid fall. It reaches about 2 feet and spreads to 3 feet. It is hardy to zone 4 and prefers moist to well drained soils. Place this perennial in full sun to part sun for best blooming.

One of the runner-up winners is Amsonia hubrichtii, a native perennial that has small clusters of light blue, star-shaped flowers. The foliage gets a bright yellow in the fall, making it a great combination plant with fall flowers such as asters. It will reach up to 3 feet in full sun. This winning perennial takes little care and blooms in late spring through early summer.

Penn State has a horticultural trial garden located in Landisville, PA. "The gardens are living laboratories and garden classrooms for horticulture, plant pathology and entomology. Commercial visitors use the gardens to develop plant lists knowing that varieties have been fully tested in this climate and under standard cultural conditions. Others use the trials for photography, relaxation, inspiration or simply to select the best plants for their own gardens." Check out the location of the trial garden at http://trialgardens.cas.psu.edu/default.html

Between 700 and 800 annual plants are grown in pots. They are started as cuttings that are sent to the research station from National Plant Sources. The plants are evaluated on five characteristics: flowers, foliage, plant uniformity, pest problems, and overall landscape display. To find more information about the plants that have been trialed, visit http://trialgardens.cas.psu.edu/Landisville.html. These trial gardens are open to the public throughout the growing season.

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