DRUMMER FEATURE JUNE 16, 2013
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All American flower winners named
By Peggy Zimmerman-Belbeck
University of Minnesota Master Gardener – Wright County
It’s gardening time and time to think about what flowers to plant in your garden this year. One of my favorite spring projects is to check out all the new plants available each year and those that are the All American Selection Winners. Choosing plants labeled All-American Selections (AAS) will help you pick some of the year’s best plants. And to my delight, this year there are two of my favorites - Cone Flowers (Echinacea) and Zinnias! I love Zinnias! There are so many varieties, some are huge and they all have wonderful bright colors! It seems that I can never plant enough zinnias!
Plants are designated AAS winners by a team of independent judges that annually test new plant varieties and determines the best garden performers. Check out these 2013 AAS flower winners to see if they will work in your garden.
Zinnias - Two AAS winners: ‘Profusion Double Deep Salmon’ and ‘Profusion Double Hot Cherry’.
‘Profusion Double Deep Salmon’ has an intense vibrant, deep pink-orange color with double petals. Profusion ‘Double Hot Cherry’ features rich rose, double petalled blooms - the bright color does not fade even in high temperatures. The Profusion Double Series Zinnias flower continuously from spring through frost and are easy to grow. It is self-cleaning (meaning there is no need for deadheading), disease resistant and grows well in our climate. The flowers are about 2.5 to 3 inches in diameter and plants grow 8 to 12 inches tall and 20-24 inches wide.
Profusion Double Series Zinnias can be started indoors under lights and transplanted outdoors after the danger of frost has passed. You will enjoy the flowers from summer to autumn! They are highly disease tolerant, but cooler temperatures (below 60°F) may induce disease problems; especially in wet and rainy conditions. Poorly drained soil and overwatering can also cause root disease.
Echinacea ‘Cheyenne Spirit’
Various new colors of Echinacea or cone flowers have taken the garden world to new heights! ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ captures the spirit of the North American plains – (all echinacea are perennial and native to the American prairies) with its delightful mix of flower colors from rich purple, pink, red and orange tones to lighter yellows, creams and white. The intense and bright colors add to the garden from mid-summer to fall. The wide range of flower colors on well branched, durable plants will please all gardeners!
The compact ‘Chey-enne Spirit’ is a plant that works well in our changing climate as it does not require a lot of water, and does not topple over in wind and rain. In addition, it doesn’t even need deadheading! ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ works well in full sun perennial gardens, in large landscape planting, in a butterfly garden and as cut flowers. Plants thrive with few disease or insect problems. They can be started from seed, but in order to flower the first year, they need to be started indoors no later than January 25, so at this point, look for ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ plants in your local garden nursery.
Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ F1
This variety canna is grown from seed, not a tuber. Its compact habit is well suited for both landscape and container use. Canna ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ likes warm and humid conditions - over 77F. Seeds can be sown indoors in mid - to late February, so again, at this point, look for this variety in your local garden nursery. ‘South Pacific Scarlet’ will have the showiest blooms if grown in full sun, and it will tolerate and bloom in partial shade in hot weather. It is also tolerant of heavy soils but thrives in most conditions except for drought. Generous watering will promote heavier flowering and keep the foliage clean and lush.
Geranium ‘Pinto Premium White to Rose’ F1
Every one that loves geraniums will need the ‘Pinto Premium’ plant. It has unique flower coloration and the numerous 5-inch blooms are long-lasting. Petals start out white then deepen to rose-pink as the flowers mature, giving a bicolor effect. Dense, well-branched plants have deep green leaves with darker zones that contrast beautifully with the light colored flowers. ‘Pinto Premium White to Rose’ is a wonderful choice for carefree, colorful summer garden beds or containers.
Plant geraniums about 12 to 18 inches apart in an area with full sun and well-drained soil after the last frost - or after about mid-May. Keep the soil evenly moist. Geraniums are easy to grow but benefit from regular fertilizing with a water-soluble fertilizer every other week, especially when planted in containers. Deadheading of old blooms on ‘Pinto Premium’ Geraniums is not necessary, as new flowers will quickly cover over the old. However, if you wish to remove the old flowers, they should be snapped off cleanly, by hand, at the base of the flower stem, where it joins the plant.
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