All-America Selections has been trialing edible and ornamental plants for over 90 years, presenting awards to entries that will impress home gardeners with their performance regionally or nationally. There have been plenty of exciting new winners that merit a place in your garden that will be highlighted in this series.
AAS Winners are grown and planted at nearly 200 Display Gardens all over the US and Canada, including nine gardens in Iowa. To see these winners and more, check out their website and search under the Display Gardens tab. For a sneak peek at potential future winners, plan a visit to Reiman Gardens, an All-America Selections Trial Garden.
If you’re like me, holiday decor is down and catalogs are spread all over every surface. Here at Reiman Gardens, we order in much larger quantities than the average gardener, but we still cheer every time we open an envelope or box full of seeds and have to restrain ourselves from seeding too early just to see new baby seedlings! Here are a few AAS Winners I’m looking forward to growing for 2024 displays.
Helianthus annuus ‘Concert Bell’: This sunflower will knock your socks off! Multiple blooms per stalk (up to a dozen!) growing between 5 and 6 feet tall. Plant these in your yard and a cut a couple to bring indoors--you won’t need anything else to fill the vase! Just over 2 months from direct sowing in the ground to flower, you should sow these a couple of weeks apart to ensure a season-long display that can be left up for birds in the fall!
Capsicum frutescens ‘Buffy’: Meet your New Year’s resolution to try new things head-on by growing this spicy little sport pepper this year! Peppers ripen from green to red, making this plant as ornamental as it is HOT! Fruits are perfect for sauces, drying, pickling, or adding to your meals to kick them into overdrive. Because of the prolific production, these plants may need to be staked.
Begonia x hybrid ‘Viking™ Explorer Rose on Green’: If you simply cannot wait another day to start seeds for summer, start begonias! Total crop time can be anywhere from 14 to 20 weeks, so get a head start on these bold begonias. You’ll be amazed that such little seeds grow to a 14” tall by 30” wide plant in just a season. The habit of these begonias are perfect for both bedding and containers or hanging baskets. Start a bunch; you’ll love them in every part of your garden!
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