Plant awards

Fleuroselect Gold Medal Winners for 2013 – already!

Well, no sooner do I finish my round up of the All-America Selections and Fleuroselect Gold Medal winners for 2012 than Fleuroselect announces its winners for 2013! And, what’s more, Fleursoselect has abandoned its policy of only giving medals to seed-raised plants, the dahlia is raised from cuttings. For more on All-America Selections and Fleuroselect, see my earlier post.

So, the three 2013 Fleuroselect Gold Medal winners are: Lewisia 'Elise', Dahlia ‘Dalaya Yogi’ and Celosia 'Arrabona'.

Lewisia cotyledon 'Elise' - Fleuroselect Gold Medal Winner 2013

Lewisia 'Elise'

This new lewisia (above, click to enlarge) has three main points of interest. The mixture of colors is lovely – soft and vivid pinks, salmon, orange, white, yellow and almost purple plus some lovely bicolors.

Also, unlike other lewisias, it does not need a cold spell to initiate flowering so it will bloom in its first year. And, finally, its seed has a higher rate of germination that other lewisias, about 80%, so you’ll get more plants for your money. Sow in January or February to flower in summer.

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Celosia 'Arrabona' - Fleuroselect Gold Medal Winner 2013Celosia 'Arrabona'

Developed in Hungary, the feathery plumes of Celosia 'Arrabona' (left, click to enlarge) come in a shade of orange red that the Fleuroselect judges thought was unique. Reaching about 14in/35cm in height, 'Arrabona' can be used as a garden annual, in containers, or as a cut flower. It also enjoys summer heat, is drought tolerant once established, and is very prolific.

In Britain, the recent trial of celosias at the RHS Garden at Wisley revealed how well these plants do in the contemporary British summer climate. And it enjoys that hot summers across much of North America. Sow in February from flowering from July to October.

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Dahlia ‘Dalaya Yogi’

This new dahlia is the second in the series of medium sized dahlias for containers and summer borders. Dahlia 'Dalaya Yogi' - Fleuroselect Gold Medal Winner 2013 The bushy plants develop these attractive, dark-eyed, semi-double flowers (right, click to enlarge) which open early and continue until the frosts. And they open continuously right through the season, not in flushes with quiet periods in between as some dahlias of this type do.

Plants are also tolerant of powdery mildew and at about 16in/40cm in height are small enough for containers, but not so dwarf as to lack elegance.

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Transatlantic award winners: Hollyhock and chili pepper

Finally, in my last look at award-winning seed-raised plants for 2012, from both sides of the Atlantic, a Fleuroselect Gold Medal winning hollyhock and All-America Selection chili pepper, developed in Britain. For more on All-America Selections and Fleuroselect, see my earlier post.

Hollyhock 'Spring Celebrities Crimson' - Fleuroselect Gold Medal Winner 2012. Image © Fleroselect
Hollyhock ‘Spring Celebrities Crimson’

The Spring Celebrities Series of hollyhocks has been developed in Holland, and represents the latest in dwarf, annual hollyhocks. OK, for many (most?) of us that’s a problem in itself: hollyhocks should be tall and elegant, and so they should be biennial – sow seed one year, flower the next. Right?

The point about their being short, and flowering from a spring sowing, is that they fit better into the growing regimes that growers already have established and so the plants are more likely to find their way into garden centres.

‘Spring Celebrities Crimson’ reaches just 2ft/60cm in height and those rich red, 3-4in/8-10cm double flowers are very pretty. It flowers from a spring sowing because, unlike most hollyhocks, it doesn’t need a period of cold to initiate flowering. Other colours in the series are soft pink, lilac, lemon, carmine rose, purple, and white.

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Chili Pepper 'Cayennetta' - All-America Selection 2012, Image © VegetalisChili pepper ‘Cayennetta’

This is a chili pepper, developed by a British company, that’s an All-America Selection – how’s that for Transatlantic success. And with a plant that until recently hardly anyone in Britain grew.

‘Cayennetta’ produces bright red fruits, green at first, about 3-4in/7.5-10cm long on bushy and well branched, rather upright plants that fill out well and don’t usually need any support. It’s ideal in a container. The fruits are relatively mild, slightly spicy, with an SHU rating of 10-20,000,

What’s more, ‘Cayennetta’ not only thrives at cooler temperatures than most chilies but it’s also good in heat; the dense foliage helps protect the fruits from sun scorch.

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Transatlantic award winners – Two new Salvias

OK, continuing my quick look at award winning seed-raised plants from both sides of the Atlantic, we continue with two different varieties of Hummingbird Sage, or Texas Sage, Salvia coccinea.

The Summer Jewel Series of varieties of Salvia coccinea have won awards on both sides of the Atlantic this year. ‘Summer Jewel Red’ is a Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner in Europe, while  'Summer Jewel Pink' is an All-America Selection.

Salvia coccinea varieties combine elegance and color; they’re altogether more relaxed in the way they grow than the traditional dumpy bedding salvias and are ideal in large containers and in sunny mixed borders.

In general, the Summer Jewel Series is more compact that earlier varieties, but not at all short and squat; they reach about 18in/45cm high and as the season develops bushes out broadly to as much as 24in/60cm across. They also flower earlier, with longer spikes and so combine color and style. Both are very appealing to bees and hummingbirds and in mild climates (zone 7b and above), both may behave as perennials.

Salvia ‘Summer Jewel Red’
Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner ‘Summer Jewel Red’ (above, click to enlarge) features long scarlet spikes which are dramatic without being crudely garish and bring a little X to bright contrasting plantings. (The plants in the picture may have been treated with a growth regulator but will soon stretch.) It flowers about Salvia_SummerJewelPink-3AASthree weeks earlier than the taller ‘Lady in Red’.

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Salvia 'Summer Jewel Pink
All-America Selection 'Summer Jewel Pink' (right, click to enlarge) is a much softer shade, a pink and white bicolor, which is lovely in pastel combinations and which is shorter and flowers about two weeks earlier than the more familiar ‘Coral Nymph’.

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For more on All-America Selections and Fleuroselect, see my earlier post.

Transatlantic award winners - Echinacea and Vinca

OK, starting my quick look at award winning plants from both sides of the Atlantic, we kick off with a sparkling echinacea mixture and sumptuous vinca (not to be confused with groundcover vinca). For more on All-America Selections and Fleuroselect, see my earlier post.

Echinacea 'Cheyenne Spirit', Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner. Image © FleuroselectEchinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’
Fleuroselect Gold Medal winner Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ (left, click to enlarge) is seed-raised coneflower mixture in six colours: orange, red, rosy-red, yellow, purple and cream. Not only does it bring this excellent range of colours (although no pure white), but the plants flower in their first year from a spring sowing, although seed needs to be sown in heat in late winter. (zone 4)

The single flowers are relatively uniform in size, and the plants all reach about the same size – 27-31in/68-80cm in height and 25-30in/64-76cm wide – whatever the colour. So the plants are very bushy. ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ looks great for sunny borders, and as a cut flower. And you can pick out your favorite color and divide the plants.

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Vinca 'Jams 'N Jellies Blackberry' Vinca 'Jams 'N Jellies Blackberry', All-America Selection. Image © All-America Selections
All-America Selection Vinca (Catharanthus) 'Jams 'N Jellies Blackberry' (right, click to enlarge) is an unusually richly coloured form of this annual in deep, not-quite-black purple that’s rather like a sun and heat loving version of Impatiens. Widely used in North America, and becoming more popular in Britain, these vincas are prolific and easy and don’t suffer from the downy mildew problems of Impatiens.

Reaching about 10-24in/25-60cm in height, depending on the summer climate, Vinca 'Jams 'N Jellies Blackberry' is a fine container plant, with silver foliage perhaps, and good in sunny borders.

Sow seed about eleven weeks before the first frost in your area at about 75F/24C and grow on at about 70F before hardening off and planting out.

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My latest work online

Here are links to a few of my pieces which have appeared on the Royal Horticultural Society website recently.

Ten soft fruits which have received the RHS Award of Garden Merit

Ten dwarf spring bulbs that have received the RHS Award of Garden Merit

Check out all my selections of AGM plants

Latest Award of Garden Merit plant - Cortaderia selloana Silver Feather ('Notcort')

Check out all the latest AGM winners I've written up

One ten plant choice, and one plant which has recently received the AGM goes live on the RHS website every month.