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AAS Winners offer gardeners reliable new varieties of plants

Hanbidge on Horticulture: All America Selections for 2022 Part I
Begonia Viking™ Explorer Rose on has a trailing habit and produces prolific rose-coloured flowers that stand out against the glossy green foliage giving a sea of colour.

When January rolls around, it is with great pleasure I bring to you the most recent AAS winners. All America Selections (AAS) is a non-profit trialling organization that tests new, never-before-sold varieties of plants for the home gardener. After a full season of anonymous assessment by volunteer horticultural professionals, only the top garden performers are given the AAS Winner award designation for their superior performance. The AAS Winner label is like a stamp of approval as their mission is to promote new garden varieties with superior garden performance.

AAS is therefore the place to go for the next best thing to guaranteed success in your garden. Once or twice each decade there is an AAS Gold Medal Award that honours a breeding breakthrough. Standard AAS National Winner designation recognizes an ornamental or edible that shows significant breeding achievements, demonstrates superior garden performance compared to other varieties available. Judges also evaluate characteristics such as earliness, taste, disease-resistance, uniqueness and more depending on the species. AAS Regional Winner designation is given to varieties that do not perform exceptionally in all regions but in specific regions of North America. Certain regions are named AAS Regional Winners. The AAS Winners offer gardeners reliable new varieties of plants to grow in your garden.

The 2022 winners will be available for purchase for the gardening season as supply becomes available. It is sometimes difficult to get the seed desired when the winners are just announced but if you go to the All America Selections website, they list the seed houses that sell seed of the winning plants. The url is

My personal favourite winner in the ornamental category is Begonia Viking™ Explorer Rose on Green F1. I love begonias as they are so suitable for shady areas of the garden and also as a houseplant. This trailing begonia has prolific rose-coloured flowers that stand out against the glossy green foliage giving a sea of colour. It is best planted in a container, allowing it to freely cascade over the edges and draw the eye to its stunning beauty. Be sure to include these “Vikings” in your garden.

The next ornamental of note is Torenia Vertigo Deep Blue F1which is ideal for both containers or elsewhere within your landscape. The vibrant, non-fading blue petals are striking with contrasting sky blue and yellow centres. With a compact habit and the large blooms that do not fade even in the hottest sun, it is sure to be a keeper in your garden.

Yet another petunia has made the cut. Petunia Bee’s Knees is a petunia with deep yellow lush blooms that do not fade all season long. The contrast between the intense yellow and the deep green leaves is truly stunning and this petunia requires very little maintenance. Plant in containers or as a long-blooming stunning groundcover.

Last but definitely not least is the Sunflower Concert Bell F1, which puts on an amazing performance with a truly unique flower presentation. The beautiful golden yellow blooms appear earlier than other sunflowers and it grows to a uniform height of about five to six feet. Each erect columnar stem produces 10 to 12 blooms which is stunning in the garden and sure to be a conversation piece. It is easy to grow with great germination and in areas with longer seasons can be planted successively to be sure to enjoy the sturdy and durable blooms.

Watch for the next two articles which will highlight the edible AAS winners for 2022.

Hanbidge is the lead horticulturist with Orchid Horticulture. Find us at; by email at; on facebook @orchidhort and on instagram at #orchidhort.

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