Each year the Mailorder Gardening Association gives ten Green Thumb Awards to those they choose as winners of the best flowers and gardening tools of the year. The judges are garden writers and editors. They make their selections based upon uniqueness, technological innovation, ability to solve a gardening problem or provide a gardening opportunity and potential appeal to gardeners. Reading through the list of winning products was interesting and informative. Here are the five top winners in the Plants, Seeds, and Bulbs category:
"Opera Supreme Lilac Ice"
This is a petunia that is a trailing grandiflora. It has a unique pattern and a longer blooming season than other similar plants. Whereas most new blossoms appear only at the end of the stems of other petunias, this one sets out new flowers from base to stem end. There are no empty holes that lack color and bloom with this variety. This petunia comes in lovely shades of lilac and purple. Available at Park Seed Company.
This is a dahlia who's name comes from the ability of the flowers to change colors as they mature. Some flowers start as white and turn to purple or lavender; others turn from lavender or purple to white. A blooming plant looks like a vibrant bouquet in all three colors --- and in variations of each as they transition. Available at Dutch Gardens.
"April in Paris"
This is a hybrid tea rose that is highly fragrant. It has glossy green foliage and blooms that are cream and pink, opening to 4" across when open. There are 30 petals in each high-centered bloom and they will stay fresh when cut for up to one week if given adequate care. Available a my favorite source of roses, Jackson & Perkins.
This is a peony which is a hybrid cross of the heavy blooming tree peony and the compact form of a herbaceous peony. It has a beautiful double yellow flower. Does great surviving winter temperatures of 10 - 20 when given winter protection. Available at Wayside Gardens.
A floribunda rose that is extremely bright and showy. The bush is compact and disease-resistant and grows well in pots. The beautiful blooms are hot pink in the center and fade out to a soft white at the edges of the petals. Also available at Jackson and Perkins.
The other five winners were in the Tools, Supplies and Accessories category. They are:
"Kombi Forever Shovel" from Beaty Fertilizer, Inc.
"PotHoles Drainage Discs" from Charley's Greenhouse & Garden.
"Steel Plant Supports" from Gardener's Supply.
"Escar-Go! Supreme" from Gardens Alive!
"Nature's Avenger Organic Herbicide" also from Beaty Fertilizer, Inc.
Happy Gardening Planning!