Saturday, July 7, 2012

All America Selections Announces Its First Two Winners for 2013

The stated mission of All-America Selections is "To promote new garden seed varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America."

All-America Selections has announced the first two winners for the 2013 growing season.

Canna 'South Pacific Scarlet'
The first is Canna 'South Pacific Scarlet', AAS Flower Award Winner. It can be started from seed. 'South Pacific Scarlet' grows up to 5 feet tall and sports showy 4 inch scarlet flowers that bloom all summer. Foliage is green. It's very robust, producing 6 to 7 stems per plant. Perfect for a mass specimen planting, or for use at the back of mixed flower borders.

Canna 'South Pacific Scarlet' tolerates wet soil, so it can be used beside water features such as ponds and streams, bog gardens and rain gardens. It also tolerates light frost, so you can enjoy the blooms longer.

Cannas are perennial in southern gardens (USDA climate zones 7 to 10), annual in northern gardens. But the rhizomes can be dug before frost and stored for replanting the next season.

Plant in full sun 18 inches to 24 inches apart. Flowers are produced 11 or 12 weeks after seeds are sown.

The second AAS Flower Award Winner is Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'. It's a hybrid that produces a blanket of vivid colors in purple, red, pink, orange, yellow and cream tones, and white. One great thing about perennial 'Cheyenne Spirit' is that it blooms the first year from mid-summer through fall.

Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit'
It's compact and sturdy, so won't fall over in wind and rain like taller coneflowers do. 'Cheyenne Spirit' is drought-tolerant and maintenance free. There's no need to deadhead spent flowers to provide beauty all summer long.

Dazzling flowers are 3 inches to 3-1/2 inches across. Plant height is 26 inches to 32 inches. Width is 25 inches to 30 inches.

Plant in full sun. Space plants 24 inches apart. Seeds sown in January will produce mature flowering plants in 23 to 24 weeks.

Look for seeds of Canna 'South Pacific Scarlet' and Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit' in seed catalogs this fall, and as young plants in lawn and garden retail stores in spring 2013.

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