Europe’s top award for new plants is the Fleuroselect Award. These are flowers grown on trial grounds across Europe “…proven to clearly supersede existing varieties in terms of breeding innovation and beauty.”
If a new plant wins both the AAS designation (see previous blog) and the Fleuroselect “quality mark” I will definitely give it a go. This year one flower falls in that category - Profusion Red zinnia.
Profusion Red Zinnia - AAS Photo
(Profusion Cherry zinnia also won both awards in 1999). The Profusion series (and Zahara series) are shorter zinnias with tons of flowers and they are resistant to powdery mildew.
Others that have won both awards in the recent past include Fresh Look Red celosia and Tidal Wave Red Velour petunia, both good plants that I grow.
Fresh Look Celosia
Senator Rose Bicolor is one of three flowers that won the Fleurosecect award for this year. Its pink flowers stand out against the bronze foliage and I have always found that the darker foliage stands up the best in full sun.
Senator Rose Bi-color Begonia- Fleuroselect photo
The AAS program has recently added “ornamentals from vegetative cuttings.” These are plants that can not be grown from seed, only from cuttings of the same plant. Starting in 2019 there will also be an AAS award for herbaceous perennials.
While I study new award winning plants carefully, I also browse the reviews of plant performance in the many trial garden sites on the internet. Most of these plantings are sponsored by a university or a large wholesaler of plants. If one plant gets top scores from several northern trial gardens I am probably going to try it.
The trial gardens at Ball Seed in Illinois
Seeds for two of my favorite AAS winners seem to have disappeared - Green Comet broccoli and Bonanza Bolero marigold. I assume this is because there are only a few vegetable seed companies left in the world and they are eliminating the older varieties in favor of new, “improved” hybrids.
Like most gardeners, I have my favorite varieties that I grow every year and at the same time I am also easily tempted to try something new.