AAS Annuals to Grow

AAS Annuals to Grow

Part of Ep. 302 It's Planting Time!

Learn how the All American Selection process works with Lori Yanny at Boerner Botanical Gardens.  This trial site evaluates and judges hundreds of new or improved varieties of seeds each year.

Premiere date: Apr 30, 1995

TRANSCRIPT+
Wisc Gardener Transcript: 

Shelley Ryan:

Every year, hundreds of new and improved plant varieties are introduced on the market. It's hard to know what's going to work in your own backyard. Here's a way to make your decision a little easier. We're at the trial gardens here at Boerner Botanical Gardens. I'm with horticulturist Lori Yanny. Lori is also one of the All America Selection judges. Lori, can you explain what it means to be judging for the All America Selection?

 

Lori Yanny:

Our garden has taken part in the All America program since 1967. We're just one of 33 different trial sites located all over the US and in Canada. Every year, we receive seed of new varieties that aren't named, and they aren't on the market. We grow them in our gardens, and we evaluate them under our conditions. So, some of the things I look at as a judge include the neatness of the plant habit, whether something starts flowering early and continues flowering late. I also look at disease resistance and sometimes at insect problems.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Then you pick winners.

 

Lori Yanny:

The winners are picked on the basis of scores from all of the judges. We display the All America winners in this bed here, the All America Winner Display Garden.

Shelley Ryan:

Any of these would be really good choices for a backyard. What about this petunia right here? The color is a fuschia. It's stunning.

 

Lori Yanny:

This is petunia Purple Wave, and it really has a quite different habit from the other petunias that are on the market. It grows almost like a carpet and it covers the ground. It also has excellent flowering. It rebounds and flowers after rain. A lot of times, petunias don't recover well when we have a thunderstorm. It takes them maybe three or four days, or sometimes even a week to come out of the rain damage. This plant also flower late into the year because it has a little bit of tolerance to light frost.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Wow, so it's going to be around after the frost, then.

 

Lori Yanny:

We'll even have some flowering in September and October.

 

Shelley Ryan:

This is the 1995 winner.

 

Lori Yanny:

Yes.

 

Shelley Ryan:

All right, what about these more delicate purple flowers here?

 

Lori Yanny:

This is Verbena Imagination. It won an award in 1993. It's a different type of verbena. It has this thorny kind of foliage. It also has something that's a positive virtue, in that it flowers late into the season, and it flowers continuously. Regular verbena that we have in our garden, a lot of times goes to seed, and you have long periods where there's hardly a flower on it at all.

 

Shelley Ryan:

So I don't have to deadhead this, or trim it, or anything to keep this color all summer?

 

Lori Yanny:

No, it's a very carefree plant.

 

Shelley Ryan:

That's perfect for my backyard. You told me earlier that this is a salvia. It doesn't look like any of the salvias I've ever grown.

 

Lori Yanny:

This is Salvia Lady in Red. It won an award in 1992. The flowers are really different from the stiff kind of formal flowers that you see on the regular garden salvia.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Really pretty.

 

Lori Yanny:

These are very airy in appearance. The thing I like about this plant is that it attracts hummingbirds.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Oh, wonderful.

 

Lori Yanny:

It also attracts goldfinch. They aren't really interested in the flowers. They're after the seed. They enjoy plucking the seed out of the capsules.

 

Shelley Ryan:

So, put this somewhere I can enjoy watching the wildlife come to it. Red is an important part of the garden. This zinnia proves my point. It's just glowing. This is also an award winner?

 

Lori Yanny:

This is Zinnia Scarlet Splendor. It won an award in 1990. It's one of the older winners in our flower display here, but it really is one of the better varieties that we've had in our gardens.

 

Shelley Ryan:

It's a real showstopper. Are we looking at one year of growth in this garden?

 

Lori Yanny:

All the plants in this winner's bed are in their first summer. There are things in here that perhaps might over winter in a tropical climate, and there are few things in here that might over winter in a climate such as Wisconsin's, but all of them can be used as an annual for this one first flowering season.

 

Shelley Ryan:

The black-eyed Susan, for instance, I always think of as a perennial. Yet, this is the flower from the first year of growth?

 

Lori Yanny:

Yes, this is Rudbeckia Indian Summer. It's a 1995 winner. It really didn't over winter very well in our trials last year. We had kind of a hard winter. But with bloom like this the first season, you really can't complain.

 

Shelley Ryan:

No!

 

Lori Yanny:

The flowers on it are just immense. They have very strong stems, so they don't require staking. They can be used inside for flower arrangements, too.

 

Shelley Ryan:

All right, what about the delicate pink flowers in front of you, the cannas?

 

Lori Yanny:

This is Canna Tropical Rose. It won an award in 1992. It has this lovely soft color, but it also has this really dramatic foliage. A lot of times, we don't pay very much attention to foliage in the garden. You see these planted, oftentimes, on the boulevard. Some people have nicknamed them Boulevard Bananas.

 

Shelley Ryan:

They look like a banana leaf. Those are great. Let's look at one last award winner. This is a lavendar.

 

Lori Yanny:

This is Lavendar Lady. It's a 1994 award winner. This is the flowering that you get on it the first season. We have a problem growing lavender in Wisconsin.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Yes, we do!

 

Lori Yanny:

The old seed-grown varieties don't bloom very much, if at all the first season. Then when you try to over winter them, Wisconsin's winters being what they are, a lot of times, you lose the plant completely, so you have zero for your efforts. This really does provide a nice display.

 

Shelley Ryan:

It's still got that beautiful scent of lavender.

 

Lori Yanny:

Yes, it's very fragrant.

 

Shelley Ryan:

Thank you, Lori. So, if you're looking for some new ideas for your backyard, come visit the trial gardens here at Boerner Botanical Gardens. You're sure to find a winner.

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