For 2006, All America Selections announced several winners that are perfect for cool season landscapes.
Skippy XL Red-Gold viola is the first ever Viola to become an All America Selections winner. It was awarded a Cool Season Bedding Plant Award. This was chosen during the Cool Season Bedding Plant trials. These trials are conducted in both the spring and fall months, and covered a period of 14 months over several years.
Skippy is uniquely colored. This variety has all it takes to be the center of attention. The large, pansy-like blossoms are 1½ inches across. They feature ruby red petals and a golden yellow face surrounded by violet red shading. The face has such fine details, including dark lines of whiskering or penciling on the face.
Skippy is dwarf, only about six inches in height with a slightly larger spread. Very free flowering, this strong, dense plant blooms for months. It is quite tolerant of hot weather. These will continue flowering in early summer when the weather begins to turn hot. Yet, it displays exceptional winter hardiness as well, and recovers quickly the following spring to resume blooming.
Diascia Diamonte Coral Rose is the second All America Selections Cool Season Bedding Plant Award winner. This is the very first F1 hybrid diascia. These frost tolerant plants are just the thing for early spring and late fall gardens. Very early to flower, this is literally covered with rosy coral blooms, an inch wide. A little less than foot in height, Diamonte Coral Rose has a spreading growth habit, and is 1½ feet across. With its extended bloom period and neat branching habit, Diamonte Coral Rose is perfect for containers and flower beds.
Diamonte Coral Rose is suitable for fall gardens in warm climates. It will provide color during the fall and winter months. For colder areas, this can be planted for spring and fall gardens.
Seeds of Diamonte Coral Rose should be planted four to six weeks before the expected last frost in your area. Cover the seeds very lightly with the soilless potting mix. Keep the pot or tray at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The seeds should begin germinating in about two to three weeks.
Seeds and plants of the new All America Selections 2006 winners should be available at local gardens and nursery centers during the early spring.