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Flowers Get Top Honors

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The All America Selections (AAS) has awarded eight flower varieties its top honors this year. This organization has actively tested, displayed, and recognized annual plants grown from seed every year since 1932. AAS continues as the oldest, most established international testing organization in North America. The President of the Southern Seedsmen's, W. Ray Hastings, started the association 67 years ago. He proposed the idea of AAS as a way for home gardeners to learn which varieties were significant improvement over existing varieties. 'Black Magic Rose' gets the AAS Bedding Plant Award. The unusual bicolor leaf pattern has a black center with a green leaf edge that distinguishes from other geraniums. The exceptionally dark foliage contrasts with the bright rose florets and each floret has a small white eye. 'Black Magic Rose' is heat tolerant and flowers freely throughout the growing season. It can be 10-14 inches tall and spread 14 to 18 inches depending upon available nutrients and water. The best performance is from plants in full sun. 'Black Magic Rose' is perfect for container culture. Vinca or Catharanthus roseus 'Jaio Scarlet Eye' has unique rose-scarlet colored flowers with a small white eye. The two-inch, non-fading blooms cover the handsome one-foot tall plants. 'Jaio Scarlet Eye' is heat and drought tolerant and is easy-to-grow in a full sun or in containers. The first hybrid cleome is 'Sparkler Blush', an improvement on an old-fashioned annual flower. It blossoms freely all season long and is a carefree plant that adapts to most soil types and is heat and drought tolerant. The plants are covered with pink flowers and reach only 3 feet tall. Pansy F1 "Ultima Morpho" has a distinct bicolor design. The upper petals are mid-blue with bright lemon yellow lower petals and rays or whiskers radiating from the center. 'Ultima Morpho' is named after the blue and yellow Morpho butterfly. 'Lavender Wave' petunia has a trailing, ground cover habit and exceptional garden performance similar to the famous 'Purple Wave.' In a full sun it can trail 3 to 4 feet and attain a height of 4 to 6 inches. They require no pinching or pruning and row well with minimal fertilizer and water. 'Tidal Wave Silver' sports silvery white blooms with dark purple centers, Unlike other petunias, you can decide the height of the mature plant. 'Tidal Wave Silver' can grow to heights of 2 to 3 feet if spaced about 6 inches apart and given support such as a trellis. If plants are spaced a foot apart, the mounded, hedge-like plants will grow to 16 to 22 inches. Rudbeckia hirta 'Cherokee Sunset' is a blend of yellow, orange, bronze, mahogany sunset colors. They have 3 to 4-1/2 inch double or semi-double flowers on plants that grow 24 to 30 inches tall and spread about a foot. They are long-lasting cut flowers. 'Cherokee Sunset' offers gardeners a blend of autumn colors and late season garden performance. They flower profusely the first year, and may overwinter in northern gardens. Listen next hour for the 2002 All America Vegetable winners. Larry A. Sagers Regional Horticulturist Utah State University Extension Thanksgiving Point Office

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