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How to Plant Wildflowers
Step by step instructions on how to plant your wildflower seeds.
Find mixtures for your region, or for special uses such as dry areas, partial shade, attracting animals, low growing, and more.
Over 75 choices that will bloom in the second year and for years to come.
Over 110 choices for fast color, such as poppies, cosmos, sunflowers, zinnia, and many more.
Help the birds, bees, butterflies & hummingbirds by planting wildflowers.
Wildflower seeds native to your region. Support local wildlife with native wildflowers.
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Perennial Planting Guide
Step by step instructions on how to plant your bare root or potted perennials when they arrive.
Spring Flower Bulb Planting Guides
Step by step instructions on how to plant your spring-planted flower bulbs when they arrive.
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How to plant a cover crop
Learn about varieties which help to replenish nutrients to your soil.
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Just like watching movies that have won top accolades means that you're more likely to enjoy your time viewing them, you can also have better luck working with plants that have been vouched-for.
More than just a popularity contest, award-winning plant lists are a great way to get familiar with plants that really perform. You can be sure that any plant who's received one of these prestigious honors will be an easy to grow, eye-catching variety. After all, these are the flowers that help set the standards plant breeders are aiming for.
Several organizations offer awards for outstanding plants and each has its own criteria for selecting winners. Some of the groups are regional and promote plants that are particularly well-suited to that climate; others are international in scope. Some promote only new varieties, while others award plants of outstanding merit, new or not. Some, like the non-profit plant trialers at All-America Selections, limit their choices to varieties available as seed.
Many organizations pick winning plants in very specific categories, such as: Daylily of the Year, Hosta of the Year, and even the Urban Tree of the Year.
Since 1990, the Perennial Plant Association (PPA) has chosen a stand-out flower variety to bestow their greatest honor upon: the Plant of the Year. With the entire membership casting their vote, plant contenders must be able to grow in a wide variety of climates, be easy to care for, and fairly-resistant to disease.
To date, there are 30 winning varieties that have laid claim to the Plant of the Year Title:
2018: 'Millenium' AlliumAllium Millenium
2017: Butterfly WeedAsclepias tuberosa
2016: 'Honorine Jobert' AnemoneAnemone hybrida
2015: 'Biokovo' CranesbillGeranium cantabrigiense
2014: 'Northwind' SwitchgrassPanicum virgatum
2013: Variegated Solomon's SealPolygonatum odoratum
2012: 'Jack Frost' BrunneraBrunnera macrophylla
2011: Arkansas Blue StarAmsonia hubrichtii
2010: Blue False IndigoBaptisia australis
2009: 'Aureola' Japanese Forest GrassHakonechloa macra
2008: 'Rozanne' CranesbillGeranium
2007: 'Walker's Low'Nepeta faasenii
2006: 'Firewitch' PinksDianthus gratianopolitanus
2005: Lenten RoseHelleborus x hybridus
2004: Japanese Painted FernAthyrium 'Pictum'
2003: 'Becky' Shasta DaisyLeucanthemum superbum
2002: 'David' PhloxPhlox paniculata
2001: 'Karl Foerster' Feather Reed GrassCalamagrostis acutiflora
2000: 'Butterfly Blue' Pincushion Flower'Scabiosa columbaria
1999: 'Goldsturm' Black Eyed SusanRudbeckia fulgida
1998: 'Magnus' Purple ConeflowerEchinacea purpurea
1997: 'May Night' Meadow SageSalvia nemorosa
1996: 'Husker Red' BeardtonguePenstemon digitalis
1995: Russian SagePerovskia atriplicifolia
1994: 'Sprite' Dwarf AstilbeAstilbe simplicifolia
1993: 'Sunny Border Blue' SpeedwellVeronica
1992: 'Moonbeam' TickseedCoreopsis verticillata
1991: 'Palace Purple' Coral BellsHeuchera mincanthra
Veggie varieties and annual flowers are also planted in trial beds and put through rigorous observation and testing before being selected and promoted as award winners.
The mission statement of All-America Selections (AAS) is "To promote new garden seed varieties with superior garden performance judged in impartial trials in North America." To this end, since 1932 AAS has worked with seed companies to conduct trials nationwide to evaluate plants under a range of growing conditions. Many of the winners have been around for decades and continue to be popular in home gardens. For example:
An international trade group of the ornamental plants industry, Fleuroselect tests and promotes new annual and perennial flower varieties, and also acts as a watchdog for illegal propagation of patent-protected varieties. Toward its goal of supporting growers and stimulating plant breeding efforts, Fleuroselect conducts plant trials across Europe. Here are a few past winners:
So what will the best-dressed gardens be wearing this season? You can bet this year's award-winning plants will be in vogue. However, if you're like us, your garden might wear the latest plant fashions but you, on the other hand, will be far less fashionable — unless old T-shirts and muddy work boots find their way to Paris runways.