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2008 All-America Selections Winners

When it comes to choosing garden plants for 2008, you won’t be disappointed with the new All-America Selections winners. Among the all star lineup are two bedding plants and one vegetable. Both plants and seeds of the winners will be available in time for the 2008 planting season.

For the cooler months of the year, you can rely on Viola Skippy XL Plum-Gold for constant blooms and beautiful color. It is the very first viola with a gold face. This was named a cool season bedding plant award winner after it performed admirably in Southern trials during the winter months. What was also impressive was the fact that it tolerates considerable hot weather as well. The blooms are plum with a gold face or blotch. Black lines surround the blotch.

In the garden, this annual can be mixed and matched with other cool season annuals and interplanted with spring flowering bulbs. This also performs nicely in container gardens since the plants only grow to about six inches tall. In the South, spring plants bloomed well into August, which is exceptional for a viola.

Skippy XL Plum-Gold is easy to grow from seed. It will bloom in about ten weeks from the time the seeds are planted. For spring color, plant the seeds indoors about four to six weeks before the past frost. Cover the seeds, which will germinate within a week to ten days.

Throughout the growing season, Asti White osteospermum will bring gorgeous white daisies with intriguing vivid blue centers. These are borne on tall sturdy stems. The blossoms reach 2˝ inches in diameter. The plants are noted for their uniform size. Named a bedding plant award winner, Asti White represents a real breakthrough for it is the very first hybrid osteospermum that can be grown from seed. This variety exhibits exceptional resistance to drought. It will begin blooming about four months or less from the time the seeds are planted.

In the garden, Asti White does well in spring and fall gardens. It can tolerate very light frost. For best results, start the seeds early indoors. The seeds will sprout in about seven to ten days.

For 2008, All-America Selections named one vegetable award winner. Hansel is sure to become a classic eggplant. This miniature is less than three feet in height, which makes it great for container gardens. Though it tolerates a range of growing conditions, wait until the weather is warm and settled before planting outdoors. Hansel bears a heavy crop of shiny, dark purple, miniature eggplants. They develop in clusters containing around six fruits. Hansel eggplants have very few seeds.

These can be harvested at the baby stage when they’re around three inches in length. If left until they’re more mature, they remain tender, sweet, and bitter-free. Hansel is ready to harvest in less than two months from the time of transplant, which is about ten days earlier than most. Sow the seeds indoors about eight weeks before you expect to plant them out. The seed

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