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Garden Chat: 2024 All-America Selection winners

New flower and vegetable varieties for gardeners.

All-America Selections was founded in 1932 and remains the oldest independent plant testing organization in North America. Every year, new, never before sold in North America varieties are trialed in their Trial Grounds. Professional horticulturists determine which varieties will be deemed winners based on their garden performance. All AAS Winners are grown in AAS Display and Introduction Gardens across North America.

Here are the 2024 ASA winners:

Broccoli ‘Purple Magic’

This purple broccoli has beautiful purple color, tight uniform domed heads and great broccoli flavor. It is easy to grow and stress and heat-tolerant.

“Wicked good! Nicest purple broccoli we’ve ever seen” exclaimed one very experienced judge. An excellent broccoli for cooler seasons. It can be eaten raw, stir-fried, roasted, lightly blanched or steamed. It was found to be sweeter and more tender than traditional green broccoli.

Pepper ‘Red Impact’

‘Red Impact’ is a Lamuyo-type European sweet pepper that is a smaller, flavorful version of a bell pepper with very sweet, thick-walled fruits. Lamuyo-type peppers are notoriously difficult to grow, but the new ‘Red Impact’ variety is easy to grow and produces thick, sweet walls, even when green. It is much sweeter than other varieties and loaded with fruit for a high yield. Red Impact plants are upright and tidy, with strong disease resistance. The fruit is dark red and highly uniform in shape and size. 

Celosia ‘Burning Embers’

‘Burning Embers’ is a new celosia bred for its gorgeous bronze foliage with dark pink veins that contrast nicely with the vibrant pink flower plumes. The plants are well-branched and produce more flowers over a longer bloom time. It had the largest and longest-lasting flowers of all the celosia varieties trialed. It does very well under heat and humidity and is completely covered with blooms over the growing season. 

Geranium ‘Big EEZE Pink Batik’

The Big EEZE geranium series is known for its superior container performance, medium vigour, and heat tolerance. The newest addition to the series, ‘Pink Batik’, has unique colouration and minimal maintenance requirements.

Impatiens  Solarscape XL ‘Pink Jewel’

This seed-propagated impatiens provide unbeatable colour in full or partial sun.  It outperformed the comparison varieties. Because it is grown from seed, it can be started at home. Vibrant pink satiny blooms cover the mounded plants all season, adding a bright tropical appeal to a garden. Solarscape XL ‘Pink Jewel’ has superior disease resistance, especially to downy mildew. It looks great when massed in beds and borders and does well in both containers and in-ground.  

Petchoa ‘EnViva Pink’

Petchoa is a fairly new genus, a cross between a petunia and a calibrachoa. ‘EnViva Pink’ displays a well-controlled mounding plant habit over the entire season. The bright pink flowers with yellow throats are very eye-catching. The flowers have an iridescent shimmer that toughs it out even when conditions get tough. ‘EnViva’ retains its glorious colour even during the heat of the summer. Large flowers bloom from spring through fall in garden beds, containers and hanging baskets. Plants are heat tolerant and flowers bounce back after rain. 

Petunia ‘SureShot White’

The versatile SureShot petunias withstand bizarre weather conditions. Whether planted in garden beds, containers or hanging baskets, these beauties will thrive, in rain or shine, heat or cold. Vibrant white blooms cover the plants, attracting bees and other pollinators to its lightly fragrant blossoms.

Marigold ‘Siam Gold’

‘Siam Gold’ has beautiful, mounded foliage that produces globe-like, fully double golden flowers all season long. The large flowers are held on top of sturdy stems above the foliage. The blooms were very tight and the uniformity of the plant lends a neat, tidy appearance to the garden. ‘Siam Gold’ is excellent as a cut flower. Plant in full sun.

This column is provided courtesy of the Saskatchewan Perennial Society (SPS; saskperennial@hotmail.com). Check our website (www.saskperennial.ca) or Facebook page (www.facebook.com/saskperennial) for a list of upcoming gardening events.