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2012 All-America Selection Winners
submitted by Sarah Browning, UNL Extension Educator
All-America Selections (AAS) celebrates 80 years of testing and introducing improved flowers and vegetables. Founded in 1932 to foster the development, production and distribution of new and improved horticultural and agricultural varieties of flowers, bedding plants and vegetables in North America, the organization evaluates plants at a network of almost 200 display gardens across the United States and Canada. Selection as an AAS Award winner recognizes a flower or vegetable for significant achievements, proven to be superior to all others on the market. AAS Award winners are tested for several years before selection, resulting in "tried and true" plants with a history of excellent performance under a multitude of growing conditions. 2012 AAS winners include 'Summer Jewel Pink' salvia, 'Black Olive' ornamental pepper, 'Cayennetta' pepper, and 'Faerie' watermelon.
Sister to earlier AAS Winner Salvia 'Summer Jewel Red', 'Summer Jewel Pink' salvia is a dwarf sized, compact plant with prolific light pink blooms throughout the growing season. As a bonus, the blooms appear almost two weeks earlier than other pink salvias. Plants are approximately twenty inches in height, good branching habit. And of course, the hummingbirds love pink, just as much as they do red!
'Black Olive' ornamental pepper is a standout, especially under very hot conditions, with an upright habit, nicely draping leaves, and small clusters of dark purple/black fruit. As summer progresses, the fruits mature to red giving a beautiful contrast against the dark purple foliage and bright purple flowers. At 18 to 20 inches tall, it provides a great color splash in containers or as a cut flower in mixed bouquets. All peppers, both ornamental and edible, grow best in full sun.
'Cayennetta' pepper is an excellent tasting mildly spicy pepper that is very easy to grow, even for novice gardeners. This 3 to 4-inch chili pepper yielded bigger fruits from a very well branched upright plant. It requires no staking which makes it a perfect plant for container or patio gardens. It has good cold tolerance as well as dense foliage cover to protect the fruits from sun scorch and it handled extreme heat very well. Approximately 24 inches tall, this pepper has excellent flavor and is an all-around good choice no matter where you're gardening.
'Faerie' watermelon is non-traditional, featuring creamy yellow rind with thin stripes, and sweet pink-red flesh fruits that have a high sugar content and crisp texture. This unique variety is vigorous yet vines spread only 11' , resulting in less space used in the garden. Each 7-8" fruit weighs only four to six pounds making it a perfect family size melon. Fruit set starts early and continues throughout the season. Plant in full sun.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension in Lancaster County is your on-line yard and garden educational resource. The information on this Web site is valid for residents of southeastern Nebraska. It may or may not apply in your area. If you live outside southeastern Nebraska, visit your local Extension office
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