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All-America Selections announced. New impatiens immune to downy mildew disease!

Written by Doug Oster on .

Impatiens BouncePinkFlame-AAS2015-2Impatiens Bounce Pink Flame PPAF 'Balboufink' is one of the 2015 AAS winners. It won't succumb to downy impatiens mildew. Photos courtesy of All-America Selections

Winter is for dreaming about the garden.

It's always exciting when AAS announces their winning varieties for the season. Since 1932, All-America Selections has been testing plants and choosing their favorites..

They have trial grounds all over the country where new varieties are grown and tested. There's one in South Park run by my friend Denise Schreiber, the greenhouse manager for Allegheny County Parks. During the season you can stop by and see how next year's plants are doing. It's always fun to get a sneak peak at what's being grown.

Some of my favorite plants are AAS selections including 'Torch' tithonia (1951), 'Juliet' tomato (1999) and many more. The fact that they are grown in many different regions under a variety of conditions. Until this year all plants were started from seed, but now AAS has started testing plants which are propagated vegetatively. In some cases it's easier for growers to make more plants through cuttings and other techniques.

The first two winners grown this way are impatiens. Impatiens SunPatiens 'Spreading Shell Pink' and Bounce Pink Flame PPAF 'Balboufink.'

I've grown the SunPatiens series, it's performed well for me. Even though SunPatiens are bred to take more light than standard impatiens, I find them a perfect substitution in shady areas. They are immune to downy impatiens mildew, a disease which has become virulent across the country.

The Bounce series is also immune. They are bred to look like the Impatiens walleriana we normally grow as a bedding plant but will not succumb to the disease like walleriana does. The bounce series is named for its ability to return to form with watering after a dry period.

Pepper HotSunSet-2014AAS-logo1Pepper 'Hot Sunset' is an AAS winner that brings the heat and flavor.

There were 10 varieties grown from seed which also won this year. One regional winner which sounds interesting is a thick walled hat wax pepper called 'Hot Sunset.' It's brings the heat, but also offers great flavor, sets early and produces all season long. There are some other interesting peppers which won too.

Basil DolceFresca  AAS2015-1-crop1Basil 'Dolce Fresca' is another 2015 AAS winner. This variety is compact and pretty.

Basil 'Dolce Fresca' stays pretty all season and is compact, only reaching two feet tall maximum. After harvesting, the plant rebounds quickly and retains its compact shape. I'm always looking for plant like this which can be planted in corners and other tight spots in the vegetable garden. Basil is a wonderful ornamental plant too. I've grown them in hanging baskets in consort with flowers.

Salvia SummerJewelWhite-AAS2015-2-cropWho wouldn't want white flowers like this is the garden? Salvia 'Summer Jewel White' is tough and prolific.

Another plant I'm intrigued with is salvia 'Summer Jewel White.' I saw red and pink varieties of this plant last year, they were beautiful and prolific. This is a great way to get a tough sun lover with white flowers in the garden.

All of the winners will be available locally or through the Internet. Adding something new to grow along side old favorites is one of the fun things about gardening.

The AAS website has a complete list of this year's winners and every plant which has ever one the coveted title of All-America Selection. You might be surprised to find how many of your favorites are listed. I love to look through the older listings to find plants which have gone out of fashion. I know any plants which capture my attention will perform well in the garden.

There's also an AAS display garden at Schenley Plaza which I did a story and video on last season. Spending time in that garden is a great way to get ideas for your own plantings.

Winter is for garden dreams, planning and making lists for next year's season. There are plenty of cool AAS winners to consider.

 

 

 

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Empty Netter Assists - 12-01-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Penguins are 12-3-2 when they score first this season.

-Christian Ehrhoff (above) snapped a skid of 46 games without a goal Saturday.

-Today would have been the 48th birthday of former Penguins forward Roger Belanger. Along with Doug Bodger and some other guy, Belanger was one of three first-round picks for the Penguins in 1984. His Penguins career amounted to 44 games and eight points in 1984-85. After spending most of the next four seasons with the club's minor league affiliates in Baltimore and Muskegon, Belanger retired in the 1988 offseason due to injuries. He die September 16, 2011 at the age of 45.

-Happy 35th birthday to former Penguins forward Ryan Malone (right). A fourth-round pick in 1999, Malone, the son of former Penguins forward and executive Greg Malone, spent parts of four seasons with the Penguins. As a rookie in 2003-04, Malone saw action in 81 games and scored 43 points, including a team-leading 22 goals. After spending the 2004-05 lockout in Finland and Italy, Malone returned to the Penguins in 2005-06 and appeared in 77 games while scoring 44 points. Injuries limited Malone in 2006-07 to 64 games and 31 points. In the 2007 offseason, Malone played in five games but failed to record a point. Arguably Malone's best NHL season was in 2007-08. While playing primarily on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Petr Sykora, Malone appeared in 77 games and set career highs in goals (27) and points (51). In that spring's playoffs, Malone played in 20 games and contributed 16 points while helping the franchise reach its third Stanley Cup final. During the 2008 offseason, Malone and Gary Roberts were traded to the Lightning in exchange for a draft pick. In 299 regular season games with the Penguins, Malone scored 169 points, 46th-most in franchise history. In 25 postseason games, he scored 16 points. He is currently a member of the AHL's Hatford Wolfpack.

-Happy 52nd birthday to former Penguins defenseman Steve Dykstra. Claimed prior to the 1988-89 season in a waiver draft from the Oilers, Dykstra's Penguins career amounted to 65 games and seven points that campaign. In the 1989 playoffs, Dykstra saw action in one game and failed to record a point. During the 1989 offseason, Dykstra joined the Hartford Whalers as a free agent.

-After the Jump: Vincent Lecavalier isn't playing that much.

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Empty Netter Assists - 11-30-14

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Penguins

-The Post-Gazette's recap from last night's game. “The way we competed was a lot better. We gave ourselves a chance.” - Sidney Crosby.

-The Raleigh News & Observer's recap. "We had the chance to play with the lead a little bit, and that didn’t happen." - Hurricanes coach Bill Peters.

-The Associated Press' recap. ''He's played outstanding. Every game he's been in, he's given us a chance to win.'' - Mike Johnston on Thomas Greiss.

-Highlights:

-Mike Lange's goal calls.

-Nick Spaling hounded Carolina captain Eric Staal pretty good here:

-Jayson Megna and Carolina's Nathan Gerbe had issues:

-Mike Johnston speaks:

-Crosby speaks:

-Marcel Goc is dealing with an injured foot.

-"My moustache is really embarrassing, actually. It's like four or five [hairs] on each side. Just little whiskers. I kind of look like a catfish." - Beau Bennett on Movember.

-Matt Murray made 22 saves for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in a 1-0 shutout of the St. John’s IceCaps.

-The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins have the least of shots against per game this season.

-Highlights:

-Eric Hartzell made 40 saves for the Wheeling Nailers in a 3-2 win against the Florida Everblades.

-Highlights:

-Happy 42nd birthday to former Penguins forward Sean Pronger. Acquired at the 1998 trade deadline in a deal which sent Patrick Lalime to the Mighty Ducks, Pronger spent parts of two seasons with the Penguins. He finished 1997-98 by appearing in five games and scoring one goal for the Penguins. He appeared in five postseason games that spring and failed to score a point. After two points and no points in 1998-99, Pronger was traded along with Chris Tamer and Petr Nedved to the Rangers in exchange for Alex Kovalev and Harry York. In seven regular season games, Pronger recorded one point.

-After the Jump: Brendan Gallagher and Marco Scandella get paid.

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Sites set for state semifinals

Written by Mike White on .

The PIAA has announced sites, days and times for the state football semifinals.

Four WPIAL teams willl play in the games - Pine-Richland in Class AAAA, Central Valley in AAA, South Fayette in AA and Clairton in A.

In Class A, Clairton will play Sharpsville Friday at North Allegheny, 7 p.m. In the eastern region final, Bishop Guilfoyle will play South Williamsport Friday at DuBois, 7 p.m.

In Class AA, South Fayette will play Hickory Saturday at Slippery Rock University, 1 p.m. Wyomissing will play Dunmore Saturday at Northern Lehigh, 1 p.m.

In Class AAA, Central Valley meets Harrisburg Bishop McDevitt Friday at Altoona's Mansion Park Stadium, 7 p.m. In the eastern region final, Archbishop Wood takes on Somerset at a site and time to be determined. It seems kind of funny doesn't it? Somerset is in the eastern region final while Bishop McDevitt is in the western region final.

In Class AAAA, Pine-Richland meets Wilson Saturday at Altoona, 1 p.m. In the east, St. Joseph's Prep plays Pennsbury Saturday at Northeast High School, 1 p.m. 

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Thanksgiving with a side of Hunger Games: Mockingjay

Written by Barbara Vancheri on .

 

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Thanksgiving weekend moviegoers were craving the second-to-last “Hunger Games,” which was No. 1 for Friday through Sunday with an estimated $56,875,000, bringing its gross so far to nearly $226,000,000 in North America.

Here are the top five estimates (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) according to Rentrak:

  1. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1” -- $56,875,000, for $225,692,805 since release.
  2. “Penguins of Madagascar” -- $25,800,000, for $36,000,000.
  3. “Big Hero Six” -- $18,770,000, for $167,209,000 to date.
  4. “Interstellar” -- $15,800,000, or $147,090,000 so far.
  5. “Horrible Bosses 2” -- $15,700,000, or $23,010,000 in North America. 

 

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