Winner's Circle

May 8, 2003 - 10:46

Here are this year's inductions into GPN's annual Winner's Circle from AAS, AARS, Fleuroselect and FloraStar.

The award-winning varieties selected by All-America Selections
(AAS), All-America Rose Selections (AARS), Fleuroselect and FloraStar embody
all the desirable characteristics growers want. Every new variety released on
the market does not undergo rigorous trials conducted in test gardens across
the United States; however, the winners of the 2003-2004 growing season have
completed extensive tests, usually over a two-year period and in multiple
locations, where judges use a standardized grading system to evaluate the
varieties' traits, including disease-resistance, hardiness, color and novelty.
This process ensures that only the most extraordinary plants receive awards.

ALL-AMERICA SELECTIONS

Celosia plumosa
'Fresh Look Red' is bred to thrive in the varied summer conditions of heat,
humidity, drought and rain. Fresh Look Red performs well in full sun and will
continue to cover up exhausted plumes by producing new feathery flower spikes
and golden foliage throughout the long days of summer. With minimal maintenance
and pest-free growth, the plant always looks fresh, does not require grooming
and lives up to its name celosia, which means burning, an allusion to the
brilliant color and shape of its flowers. Mature plants can reach 18 inches in
height and spread 12-20 inches. Although recommended for 5- or 6-inch pot production,
Fresh Look Red will perform well in mass plantings for landscape use. (Also
awarded by Fleuroselect).

In the same series, 'Fresh Look Yellow' blooms in abundance,
often covering the plant. By regenerating numerous flower spikes that cover up
spent blooms, Fresh Look Yellow eliminates the need for deadheading. This hardy
variety is easily grown from seed or plug and will produce 17-inch plumes
within 70-90 days, spreading to 15 inches at maturity. Fresh Look Yellow is
extremely heat tolerant, flourishing despite humidity and severe weather, and
is a good choice for combination planters and public gardens.

Gypsophila muralis
'Gypsy Deep Rose' forms an attractive mounded plant, with a high number of dark
rose, double and semi-double blooms that are large in size, up to
3/8  inch. Gypsy Deep Rose,
evaluated in greenhouses for bedding plant performance, won the AAS Bedding
Plant Award for the plant's many improvements over comparisons. It performs
best in full sun, adapts well to container culture and requires little
maintenance. It is easily grown from seed, with the first bloom occurring
within 60 days of sowing.

The first purple hollyhock available as a single color,
'Queeny Purple' was the shortest Alcea rosea evaluated. It will flower
prolifically the first year from a February or March sowing, with an abundance
of  frilly-edged, "powder
puff" type blooms in light purple. Mature plants grow to a height of 20-30
inches. As a compact branching plant, it is suited for smaller garden spaces
and performs well in pot production.

Differing from all other single grandiflora petunias, 'Limbo
Violet' has a unique combination of large flowers on a compact plant. Limbo
Violet grows in mounds, which, at times, are completely covered with intense,
dark violet, 3-inch or larger blooms. Growing only 6-7 inches tall and
spreading 10-12 inches, Limbo Violet was selected for its improved plant habit
when grown as a bedding plant; it is early to flower, the habit is restricted,
it recovers quickly from severe weather and it is virtually maintenance free.
In production, plants will bloom 7-9 weeks after sowing and have less tendency
to stretch.

ALL-AMERICA ROSE SELECTIONS

Featuring dark green foliage, floribunda 'Day Breaker' is a
bushy upright with bright, multi-shade flowers in yellow blending to pink and
apricot. From pointed and shapely buds, its spiraled blooms grow to 4 inches in
diameter, with 30-35 petals per flower. This medium-height rose exhibits a
moderate tea fragrance and makes a great addition to any garden because of its
vigor and strength. Day Breaker was hybridized by Gareth Fryer and is being
introduced by Edmunds' Roses of Wilsonville, Ore.

'Honey Bloom' is a classic floribunda that has a spicy scent
and exhibits excellent disease resistance, including rust and powdery mildew.
Its bright, apricot-yellow blooms grow in large, open clusters with fast
regrowth on the well-branched bush. Flowers are 4 inches in diameter with 25-30
petals, each flowering from a stem of 12-14 inches. Featuring dark, glossy
foliage, plants grow approximately 3 feet in height and spread 2 feet. Honey
Rose was hybridized by Keith Zary and is being introduced by Jackson and
Perkins Wholesale Inc., Medford, Ore.

A combination of 'Blueberry Hill' and 'New Zealand', the
hybrid tea 'Memorial Day' is a medium-tall, bushy upright that features large,
full-spiraled blooms with more than 50 petals per flower. Clothed with rich
green foliage, Memorial Day's pink flowers are accented with a lavender wash
and grow to 5 inches in diameter. Exhibiting a strong, damask rose fragrance,
Memorial Day is a vigorous performer and highly disease resistant. It thrives
in hot weather and is easy to grow. Hybridized by Tom Carruth, Memorial Day is
being introduced by Weeks Wholesale Rose Grower, Upland, Calif.

FLEUROSELECT

Coreopsis 'Heliot' is
an easy-to-grow perennial whose sunny yellow flowers with dark centers provide
garden color from June to November. Unlike most perennials, Heliot has an
abundance of flowers within the first year of planting. The single, daisy-like
blooms, which measure 11/2-2 inches in diameter, prefer full sun
environments. Heliot's compact and uniform habit makes the variety suitable for
bedding and pot production. Heliot can proliferate in almost any kind of soil,
making it a low-maintenance flower.

A stately annual that grows to 131/2 inches high, Lavatera
trimestris
'Novella' has a constant
profusion of large, trumpet-shaped, rose-colored flowers. This dwarf variety
has a compact and uniform habit, enjoys a significantly long growing season and
associates well with shrubs and hardy perennials. In the months of July to
September, the moderately fast growing Novella will make an attractive,
low-growing hedge with its free-flowering and deep green foliage or will add
dimension to any container arrangement.

Phlox 'Grammy Pink/White' presents a breakthrough in color
patterns with its unique pink and white petals against a contrasting background
of green foliage. Grammy Pink/White is an easy-to-grow compact border plant
that has a multitude of single, 1/2-inch blooms. Performing well in both
sun and partial shade, the F1 hybrid reaches a height of 6 inches and spreads
to 4 inches. This annual is an excellent plant to use in raised beds, patio tubs,
edgings and flowerbeds, especially because  of its long growing season and continuous flowering.

Celosia Plumosa
'Fresh Look Red' (see AAS Winners, page 48, for description).

FLORASTAR WINNERS

Fortune F1 pot gerbera provides uniformity among all colors
from germination to flowering. FloraStar winners, Red with Dark Eye and Orange
set a new standard for hybrid gerbera. Each flower's vibrant color is set off
by a contrasting center and glossy green foliage. Red and Orange's short stems,
medium to large flowers and heat tolerance make these varieties winners for
both pot and garden plant production. This F1 hybrid flowers at least two weeks
earlier than industry standards.

About The Author

Sarah Pahnke is an editorial assistant for GPN.

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