Each November, January and July, All-America Selections, a nonprofit organization that tests new plants for home gardeners, announces its winning plants from the previous season. The plants are all new to the market and all of them have undergone extensive testing in trial gardens around the country. (One of those gardens is in Morris, Minnesota, at the University of Minnesota West Central Research and Outreach Center.)
Some of the 2019 All-America Selections winners were announced recently, and they include new colors and forms of popular annual flowers as well as new types of melons and tomatoes.
Among the annuals, the one that really caught my eye is called Baby Rose nasturtium. Most nasturtiums are in the yellow/orange color range, but this one is a deep, deep pink. It’s a shorter, mounding nasturtium and would be a bright addition to any of your container plantings. The foliage is a dark green with the distinctive star-shaped veining of nasturtiums. Both flowers and foliage are edible. Other winning annuals include a chocolate-leaved begonia called Viking XL, a big, yellow marigold called Big Duck Gold and a new Wave® petunia called Carmine Velour. It’s a dark rose color and was extremely popular with the judges. It would be a great plant for hanging baskets.
This round included several tomatoes, two melons and a snacking pepper that I would love to try. Among the melons, one is fairly short season — ripening 45 days from transplanting. Called Orange Silver Wave, it is from South Korea originally, and has a very sweet taste. One of the tomatoes is a beef steak-type tomato with green-black color called Chef’s Choice Black. What is especially appealing about this tomato is it has a crack-resistant skin. Last year’s heavy rains made tomato cracking a big problem for many gardeners.
Do you grow All-America Selections? Which are your favorites?