All-America Selections

January 29, 2014

In the recent past we have featured All-America Selections (AAS) in our gardening column, and no doubt you will come across gardening magazines that will be announcing these same gems for your gardening pleasure.

All-America Selections are new varieties of ornamental plants, vegetables, flowers and bedding plants that have been trialed by AAS, which is a non-profit organization that accesses trial grounds across the United States and Canada.

Independent judges at the trial plots will rate the new cultivars on a scale of 0 to 5 on different traits of the plants such as:

- Earliness of bloom in flowers or in case of vegetables earliness to harvest,

- disease or pest tolerance

- total yield

- length of flowering or length of harvest

- flower or fruit form or flavor

- overall performance

To make the grade as a winner new cultivars have to excel in at least two of the areas reported on. The results are tabulated and the winners announced.

Although the home gardener is anxious to learn about the new and up and coming varieties the reality is that they are new, and often at the time of announcement there is insufficient seed available to ship to all suppliers. Depending on the variety it may take several years to actually multiply the seed into quantities required for mass distribution.

The All-America Selections website (just Google it) has lists of trial grounds and their specialties, these include universities, public gardens, breeding stations and commercial greenhouses both in Canada and the United States, perhaps they may have these varieties earlier than other suppliers.

In any case, do not fear, good things will come to those who wait, many of the varieties we reported on last year are now available from many Canadian sources, and sporting the AAS label.