Additional 2013 AAS Winners Announced Today

Okiedawn OK Zone 7November 13, 2012

Today the All-American Selections organization announced 4 more 2013 AAS winners, joining Canna "South Pacific Scarlet" and Echinacea "Cheyenne Spirit", which had been announced earlier.

The winners of the AAS 2013 Vegetable Award are a Cherry Tomato called "Jasper", a melon called "Melemon" that is round and greenish, and a watermelon called "Harvest Moon" that looks like a shorter, more rounded "Moon and Stars" type. The AAS bedding plant that joins "Cheyenne Spirit" and "South Pacific Scarlet" is a Geranium called "Pinto Premium White to Rose".

The article announcing these winners and giving a brief description of them is linked below. You can click on a Facebook link on the same page to see photos of all the 2013 AAS winners.

After looking at the photos of Cheyenne Spirit, it is the one I am most eager to try.


Here is a link that might be useful: AAS Winners

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The vinca jams and jellies flower, the zahara starlight rose and gretal eggplant, summer jewel pink salvia for me!!!

They are all beautiful though. But these would fit my color scheme and are just too beautiful not to try.

I am bookmarking that site!


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:47AM
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The PPA's perennial plant of the year is the Variegated Solomon's Seal, Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum'. I love this plant, having grown it for the past 15 years.

That watermelon looks very, very interesting, Dawn! Also, I love the look of the new coneflower introductions, but I don't trust them. Is this a TerraNova intro? A lot of them have not performed up to expectations. I don't know how the AAS trials its contenders. Coneflowers can be a lot fussier than one thinks they would be, considering their parent stock.


Here is a link that might be useful: 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year

    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 8:53AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


Cheyenne Spirit was bred by Pan AM Seed and Keift Seed breeder Ping Ren in Illinois. I assume the seed is being produced in The Netherlands. I knew it was being trialed in the AAS Trial Gardens so have been watching it for a couple of years. Last year the seed was available from a handful of online retailers, and I almost purchased it then, but (mindful of the disappointment in Terra Nova's pricey new echinaceas the last few years) I really wanted to wait and see how this variety performed in the AAS Trials.

Since "Cheyenne Spirit" was trialed in 37 AAS Trial Gardens across the USA and was selected as an AAS winner, I have high hopes for it. There's no way to know, though, without trying it and seeing how it does, which is precisely what I intend to do. I feel like any plant that was trialed for multiple years in AAS Trial Gardens in the recent drought years has to be really good to emerge a winner.

I think the watermelon looks very interesting. My dad's family grew Moon and Stars when he was a kid, and I still plant it about 1 year out of 3. I'd grow it more often, but the plants take up so much space and I'd rather grow smaller refrigerator-sized melons. Thus, I find this new watermelon very intriguing and likely will grow it in 2013 if seeds are available early enough, or in 2014. It looks like it would produce a nice melon that's larger than the refrigerator melons but not nearly as huge as the regular OP Moon and Stars.

I already have my Grow List pretty much figured out for 2013, but I always leave a little room to try a few new things.

We have a new fenced garden area with very sandy/silty soil that we used last year for the first time in about a decade. I had grown flowers and winter squash there before in and prior to 2006, but then the deer discovered the garden and that area wasn't fenced, so I stopped using it. This year I grew corn and 'Moon and Stars' watermelong there along with some Tahitian Melon winter squash and some drought-tolerant bush beans called Kebarika. That soil is so sandy that the moisture just ran right through it and I had to water and water and water those plants like crazy this past summer. After I amend that area's soil by adding a whole lot of organic matter and some chicken manure this winter, I think it will be a great place to grow watermelons and sweet potatoes, so that's likely where I'll plant both those crops this coming spring. I'd like to grow the new watermelon variety there.

I find the color range of the Cheyenne Spirit echinaceas very intriguing and they'd look great with the other hot colors of plants like butterfly weed, Texas star hibiscus, and zinnias that I always grow in the veggie garden's flower border. I love hot colors in that area because those hot-colored flowers seem to attract oodles of pollinators.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 9:32AM
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I'm glad to hear all of the info on the coneflower, Dawn! Very much appreciate it. Don't know that I will grow it, but it is so nice to know that there is potential in a good coneflower. A lot of people love(d) the new hot colors introduced by Terra Nova, but so few succeeded in growing them. I tried one of the Big Sky series, but it did not come back the following year, which was one of the major problems with a few of those Echinaceas. I just have the old species E. purpurea, I think it is. I have found that it needed a lot more water than expected, in order for it to grow and bloom well.

I have some extra Chicken Manure left from this last year, and if you say it's okay, I'll go ahead and dump it in the 2 new beds I prepared this year. One of the beds needs it a lot more than the other. It is very much clay and doesn't drain well. The other one has more sand in it and drains well, but needs more organic matter.

I did very well with peppers, cucumbers, okra, and tomatos. The squash and beans did not do well at all. So that bed will be going to either hot colored annuals for the butterflies and hummers, or to milkweeds, tropical and a couple of perennial swamp milkweeds that do well in clay.

Has anyone posted their 2013 list yet?

I was reading an article last week and a suggestion was made that we shouldn't pull up our plants from the previous year, but rather cut them off at the soil line instead. This gives new roots of seeds or transplants "routes for roots" to easily follow and less disturbance to the soil structure. That is assuming there are no diseases with the previous years plants. I had never thought of it that way and don't recall anyone mentioning that on the forum. Either that or I just plain missed the postings.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 4:30PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Susan, I really wanted to try some of the new echinaceas the last few years, but waited and read reviews and waited some more. So many people had the same experience that you did with the new ones not returning that I am glad I waited. I have echinacea purpurea too, though it has not been happy the last couple of years. I need to sow more seed because some of them didn't make it through 2011. I think I have seed of the one with Pow Wow in its name. Pow Wow Wildberry maybe? It is stored in the freezer.

Go ahead and put that manure in the beds. I don't think it will hurt them. The kind you buy is already composted right? I am getting ready to clean out the chicken coop and put the manure/bedding mix right on the area I have that is too sandy and needs a lot of improvement. It still will need a lot more organic matter, but at least getting the chicken coop manure/bedding on that soil will be a start.

I haven't seen any 2013 lists posted yet. I hope to get mine up this week. We got busy for a while with fires, but this week is quieter.

I have mixed feelings about leaving existing plants and generally would rather compost them. If you do this in farming, it is no-till farming and it is very smart. By not disturbing the soil, you leave not just the root pathways undisturbed but also the little passageways made by earthworms and the like. I'd like to grow no-till, but not until my soil is improved enough that I don't feel an overwhelming need to work organic matter into the soil every winter. I do actually have one large bed (the flower bordder on the south side of the veggie garden) that is likely to be no till this year because all the cool-season flowers have emerged already so I'll just mulch them with compost instead of working it into the ground. That sort of annual cultivation is not absolutely necessary, but I like to pile amendments on top of the ground every fall or winter and work them into the ground with my little Mantis cultivator. It is a hard habit to break!

If I lived north of OKC, up in the area that had the dust storm a few weeks ago, I certainly would go the no-till route this winter and spring. Clearly there's not much vegetation growing to help hold the soil, which is a horrible reminder of the Dust Bowl Days....which reminds me....the PBS Dust Bowl documentary/mini-series by Ken Burns is coming up in a few days. I'm looking forward to seeing it.


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:15PM
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Yes, buy the composted in the bag called Back To Nature. Very good stuff.

I hand dig my beds, but I'm gettin' kinda old to do it. I never seem to have problems with it, except for Bermuda and crabgrass. I can never seem to get all the tiny seeds and rhizomes. There are fewer, mind you, but I still have to continue the weeding. Mulching helps some, but those persistent grasses still work there way up thru the mulch.

I plan to order a couple of native seeds (or more) that are semi-parasitic and I need to do that soon so I can direct sow them. One is Gerardia and the other is Castilleja. At least I can sow those where grass already exists, lol!

Yeah, I saw the Farm Bureau Report last week and they discussed the Dust Bowl, and the similarities to what we are experiencing now that is affecting the top soil. I just takes so long to restore the soil after a prolonged drought. Poor little plants. There is a really big effort right now to get rid of the Red Cedar trees, too, that are causing so many problems with fires. That's a huge project and no telling if they can really eradicate them totally.

I'll be watching that series on the Dust Bowl, too, altho I'm sure it will leave me crying in my boots!


    Bookmark   November 14, 2012 at 6:59PM
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