The first seven All American Selection winning plants were released recently. The AAS is a non-profit organization that trials new varieties and informs gardeners on their favorites.
I love to see their picks, there are two tomatoes chosen this yearend both are cherry tomatoes that are great for containers. 'Lizzano' (pictured) is the first semi-determinate (meaning benefits from staking) cherry tomato that's late blight resistant.
Gardeners were greatly affected by the late blight during the 2009 season, and even though the disease was not as rampant in 2010, some gardeners lost tomatoes to the blight. Any tomato bred as late blight resistant should be of interest to gardeners. The fact that the plant is also bred for container growing will also be of importance to gardeners as more and more people are using pots for gardening.
Being an AAS winner is prestigious, I'm still growing 'Juliet' (1999) and 'Sugary' (2005) tomatoes and many other former AAS winners. 'Sugary' was the last tomato to be chosen before this year.
Winners can be any flower or vegetable, there have only been a handful of tomatoes picked since things got started in 1933. I love looking over the list of plants at the AAS website to look for winners that are still in cultivation.
The other tomato chosen this year is 'Terenzo,' another compact cherry. Both winners are said to be prolific and 'Terenzo' is a very sweet cherry. It thing I'll be able to find a spot in the garden for both; it's always nice to grow something new.
There are a couple other plants that interest me for next season that were winners this year.
'Glamour Red' ornamental kale looks awesome. I love growing flowering kale, especially this time of the year when it's the star of the show. It's the first ornamental kale to every win. The AAS website says of the plant, "‘Glamour Red’ is an excellent achievement in breeding for its unique shiny leaves. The waxless quality of the leaves makes them shiny with a more intense, vivid color as compared to existing ornamental brassicas." I'm in; I can't wait to grow it next fall.
If you're looking for a sun-loving plant that's indestructible, gaillardia or blanket flower might be for you. Breeders have been working with the plant for years and each season come out with something cool. ‘Arizona Apricot’ is a 2011 selection from AAS that has peaked my interest. This long blooming perennial is only 12 inches high and will start flowering mid-summer going well into fall. I love the color. What do you think?
As the season winds down the fun part starts of planning next year's garden. These AAS winners are all making my list for next summer.