Three flowers have been chosen as All-America winners this year. The AAS Bedding Plant Award goes to 'Celebrity Chiffon Morn' petunia. The 2-1/2 inch pastel pink blooms are an improved multiflora type called floribunda. Reports from garden trials say this variety has heat, drought and severe weather tolerance. When planted in full sun, 'Celebrity Chiffon Morn' may grow 24 inches tall and wide. For a solid mass of color, space plants 6 to 12 inches apart in the flower bed. The closer spacing of 6 inches will produce earlier flowering.
A second petunia to win an AAS flower award this year is 'Purple Wave'. This petunia begins a new class of petunias described as ground hugging, or procumbent. All growth is horizontal on these varieties. Plants grow just 4 to 6 inches tall, but spread 3 to 4 feet. The 2 inch flowers are single and are produced all along the plant rather than just at the ends of flower stems. Because of its growth potential, 'Purple Wave' needs more garden space than most petunias. Allow three feet of space on either side of the row and space plants about a foot apart within a row. If space is tight, use fewer plants in the ground and put the rest in containers for a wonderful show. They can be utilized in flower boxes and hanging baskets as well.
The third AAS flower award for 1995 is Rudbeckia hirta 'Indian Summer'. Common names for Rudbeckia include gloriosa daisy and black eyed susan. 'Indian Summer' produces huge golden yellow blooms that are 6 to 9 inches across. Flowers are single or semidouble with a contrasting dark center. Plants grow about 3 feet tall and do not require staking. Once flowering begins, it continues throughout the season. Plants are heat and drought tolerant and thrive in poor soils. For best performance though, provide them with adequate water and fertilizer. In the garden, plants should be spaced one to two feet apart. Plants are considered annuals in this area.
There were no AAS vegetable winners for 1995. Perhaps 1996 will be a vegetable year.
The 1995 Perennial Plant Association's "Plant of the Year" is Perovskia atriplicifolia, commonly called Russian sage. Russian sage has silver foliage topped with spikes of lavender-blue flowers. Plants grow about 4 feet tall. It performs best in full sun and well drained soil and is considered drought tolerant. In the garden, plant Russian sage with white-flowered perennials or where its foliage effect can be maximized. The flowers are excellent as cut flowers. Plants are hardy for zones 4 to 9.
For those of you who are rose enthusiasts, the All-America Rose Selections for 1995 are two floribunda roses 'Brass Band' and 'Singin' in the Rain'. 'Brass Band' is described as a melon orange and yellow bicolor. Color is more intense when weather is cool. The flowers have 30 to 35 petals and are considered medium to large. Flowers have a moderately fruity fragrance. The plant grows to a height of 3 to 4 feet with a rounded habit. Foliage is bright green.
'Singin' in the Rain' has a cinnamon apricot gold flower color. Flower color is changeable depending on the weather. The medium sized flowers have 25 to 30 petals and are double. Flower buds are pointed. Fragrance is a moderate sweet musk. Plants grow 3 to 4 feet with a rounded and bushy habit. Leaves are glossy dark green.
For those of you actively perusing the garden catalogs at this time, try to save some space in the garden for these award winning flowers. It's always fun to try new things every year.
This article originally appeared in the February 10, 1995 issue, p. 11.