Spring catalogs feature new flower and
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All-America plant selections
Provided by John Fulton
URBANA -- With the arrival
of the first garden catalogs, area growers are beginning to make
decisions for next year's garden. Recognition by
Selections always brings added attention to "something new" that
is of interest and has improved qualities. Following is a list of
the all-America winners for the 2005 season.
Arizona Sun is the first flower winner.
A mahogany red and bright yellow gaillardia, it has 3-inch blooms
and is constantly in flower all summer. It is a compact grower to
about 10-12 inches, making it great for containers. Even the spent
blooms are attractive in that they look like tufts of seed. It is
very easy to grow from seed, and though it is an annual in some
areas, with a little protection it may overwinter. It is great for
cutting and for bringing butterflies to a garden.
The second new flower is a
blue-flowered vinca called First Kiss Blueberry. The large 2-inch
blooms have a darker center that accentuates the violet-blue
color. Mature plants grow to about 12-16 inches and are great for
the sunny border or in containers. As with all vincas, it has great
Rounding out the flowers is a new
zinnia called Magellan Coral. This zinnia is part of a series of
zinnias called Magellan and offers radiant coral blooms. The fully
double dahlia flower has 5- to 6-inch blooms that are on top of very
compact plants, growing to about 15 inches. Earliness to bloom and
undemanding of attention in the garden are some of the qualities
that drew praise from the judges.
On the vegetable front, varieties of
eggplant, tomato and squash earned the All-America Selections emblem
The Fairy Tale ornamental eggplant
is a small plant with decorative miniature fruits and is white with
violet-purple stripes. The fruit are sweet with a tender skin and
few seeds. There is an extended window for harvest, and the fruits
can be picked when young, about 1 to 2 ounces, or they can be left
on the plant until they double in weight without compromising the
flavor or tenderness. Harvest can be expected in about 49 to 51 days
after setting out transplants. Fairy Tale makes a great ornamental
plant. For people who like to grow vegetables in containers, it
offers a tropical look with interesting flowers.
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The new tomato is the Sugary. The
name says it all. The trial judges raved about its sweet flavor. The
half-ounce dark pink fruit has a sugar content of 9.5 percent, which
is considerably higher than other varieties. The fruit is produced
in clusters like grapes and can be eaten like them. It has a unique
shape -- oval with a pointed blossom end. High-yielding and
vigorous, the plants probably need tomato cages in most gardens.
Plants will start to produce fruit in about 60 days from the time
transplants are set out.
The new squash, a winter variety, is
called Bonbon. This buttercup-type squash has three improved traits.
It is a restricted-growth-habit squash, which means that
limited-space gardeners can have squash without it taking over the
whole garden. It also has earliness qualities and is superior for
eating. The upright-habit plant can spread about eight feet. When
seeds are sown in the garden, look for the first ripe fruit about 81
days after sowing. That's almost a full week ahead of others. The
boxy-shaped dark green squash is painted with silver stripes and
weighs about 3 to 4 pounds. The orange flesh delivers a sweet flavor
when cooked; hence, the name Bonbon.
[Provided by John
Fulton, unit leader,
University of Illinois Extension,
Logan County Unit]