Classic City Awards For Annuals

Classic City Awards For Annuals

The Classic City Awards are presented in November after months of evaluation in The Gardens at UGA. Of the thousands of species and cultivars, only a few performed well enough all season to earn the coveted award. Plants are evaluated on foliage quality, flowering performance, disease and insect resistance, and most of all on the ability to sustain landscape performance through heat, humidity, drought, rain, open houses and fall football games.

All evaluations are based on a rating of 1-5, with a 5 being excellent. The plants must have extraordinary flowers or foliage that caught the eye over the season, and in general, received a final grade of at least 4.5 out of 5.0 in the final tallies. We awarded 10 winners in annuals and 10 in perennials.

Geranium ‘Calliope Dark Red’

Every year, we receive about 60 new geraniums to trial, and often, it is difficult to get excited about one more red geranium. In general, most zonals struggle in the heat of the summer, although ivies fare considerably better. Last year, we awarded Caliente, the first of the ivy-zonal hybrid series, this award. This year we are proud to do the same with its cousin, ‘Calliope Dark Red.’

In a hanging basket, it performed well all season. It pulled away from the ivy leaders with its persistent color and quality in the ground beds, where it outshone its zonal competitors with brilliant dark red color, persistent dark foliage and season-long performance.

Begonia ‘Ikon Blush White’

Every year we receive “surprises,” that is plants that quietly catch our eye every time we pass them. These are also plants that are a bit hidden in The Gardens yet when pointed out, you wonder how you missed it.

Such was the case of ‘Ikon Blush White.’ The soft light green leaves contrasted with blushes of pink and white from the flowers. It was always in flower and we never did see any problems with the foliage. We trialed plants in a basket and a container, and both performed wonderfully.

Scaevola ‘Surdiva White’

Suntory has always been on the cutting edge of new introductions, and its fan flowers have always impressed us. In the heat and humidity of the Southeast, good fan flowers are important. Last year, we presented ‘Cajun Blue’ this award. This year, we have a non-blue fan flower we can get excited about.

The Surdiva series was particularly eye catching this year, and ‘Surdiva White’ won hands down. There were many excellent blues, but having a white scaevola we could use in combination plantings made all the difference.

Purple Flash capsicum
Capsicum ‘Purple Flash’

Capsicum ‘Purple Flash’

During our open houses in June, we asked industry visitors and consumers alike to flag the plants that caught their eye. With incredible color, impressive vigor and knock-your-socks-off gaudiness throughout the garden, we were more than a little surprised when, at the end of the days, the most flags had been stuck in this planting.

Actually, we weren’t surprised long, because as we studied it more and more, the beautiful multicolored foliage, the good flowers and the dark fruit just kept looking better. The disease-resistant foliage and its easy-to-maintain dwarf habit sealed the deal.

Coleus ‘Henna’

Coleus, coleus, coleus, have we not petunia-ed these things to death yet? The answer is a resounding no, and it seems even better ones arrive each year. We had many fine coleus this season, and it was hard to pick one that was significantly better than others.

However, visitors were ooh-ing and aah-ing over this one throughout the season, even when we cut it back in late July. It is hard to describe how many and what colors are part of the leaves, but henna is one of them, to be sure. The foliage was not the least bit intimidated by the heat, humidity and full sun in The Gardens.

Diamond Heart colocasia
Colocasia ‘Diamond Heart’

Colocasia ‘Diamond Head’

During and after the Pack Trials this year, so much fuss was made over this group of plants bred by Dr. John Cho at the University of Hawaii that we had to have them. Thanks to our colleagues at James Greenhouse down the road, we obtained the entire series in June. They took a little while to get up to speed, but they soon became the foliage beacons in The Gardens. While they were all good, ‘Diamond Head’ was spectacular.

This is not a plant for in front of the front door, as it soon was 5 feet tall and equally wide. What impressed everyone was the deep black shiny foliage that stood up on its own, seldom falling over as taros are want to do.

Angelonia ‘Serena White’

We have trialed many angelonias over the years. They have all had some positive characteristics. However, few have rivaled the exceptional performance of ‘Serena White.’ The plants reached a maximum height of 15 to 18 inches and remained in a tight clump throughout the season.

‘Serena White’ blooms the entire summer without any downtime as seen in other cultivars. The plants were completely covered in clean, pure white flowers for months earning it this coveted award.

Acalypha ‘Bronze Pink’

For a second year, we have been enamored with acalypha ‘Bronze Pink.’ From the minute we laid eyes on it, we and all visitors were in love. The plant grew to approximately 5 feet in height, but was no behemoth. Large florescent pink and burgundy leaves graced the purple stems, withstanding any weather thrown its way.

Sunpatiens Vigorous Coral
‘SunPatiens Vigorous Coral’

‘SunPatiens Vigorous Coral’

Not too long ago, the thought of planting New Guinea impatiens in the full blazing sun was absurd. However, with Sakata’s excellent breeding and intense selection under hot, bright conditions, these plants have lived up to their billing. All of the SunPatiens series provided outstanding performance in full sun, and all could have been presented this award.
We chose ‘Vigorous Coral’ because of its exceptional ornamental value and slightly better performance. We loved the variegated foliage that complimented the deep coral blooms so well. ‘SunPatiens Vigorous Coral’ will stop you in its tracks, demanding a second look.

Petunia ‘Red Ray’

It is difficult to find a petunia that stands above others because of the sheer numbers being trialed and the improvement in all petunias in general. Petunias had more than a few problems in the garden this year, but several cultivars performed particularly well in spite of the heat, humidity and soil problems.

In particular, Danziger’s ‘Red Ray’ was outstanding. Throughout the summer, ‘Red Ray’ flowed out of its container, spilling hundreds of real red flowers for all to admire. While other petunias waned, ‘Red Ray’ withstood our climate admirably.

Leave a Reply

Latest Stories
Jim Zablocki, Plant Prod

February 5, 2016

Sign Up For A Webinar On Using Plant Nutrition To Impro…

The webinar takes place March 2, and covers how leading growers are using plant nutrition to minimize costs, reduce the number of factors they need to worry about, and lessen environmental impacts.

Read More
Biocontrols Conference and Expo 2016

February 4, 2016

Biocontrols 2016 Conference Offers Insights And Learnin…

The Biocontrols 2016 Conference & Expo, which takes place March 3-4, 2016, in Monterey, CA, brings together growers, pest control advisers, suppliers, researchers, and other segments of the industry to share the latest information on biochemicals, microbial pesticides, and beneficials, and help you put biocontrols to work in your operation.

Read More

February 4, 2016

Poinsettia Growers Discuss Their Recent Trials And Triu…

Growers from Pennsylvania, Illinois, and North Carolina describer their experiences trialing everyone’s favorite holiday season flora.

Read More
LiveTrends Copper Wire Orb

February 3, 2016

The Coolest New Retail Products From TPIE

During the recent Tropical Plants Industry Exhibition (TPIE) in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, the Garden Center Group embarked on a search for the coolest new products for garden retailers. Here’s what they discovered.

Read More

February 3, 2016

New Plants, Products, And Trends From TPIE 2016

Tropicals, foliage, and succulents may be the way to new consumers’ hearts, based on the cool ideas, products, and trends presented at the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association’s (FNGLA) 2016 Tropical Plant Industry Exhibition (TPIE), January 20-22, 2016 at the Broward County Convention Center in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The theme this year, Elevating Expectations, was fulfilled, renewing and reinvigorating attendees to carry forth their businesses into 2016 and beyond. TPIE showcases the latest trends in foliage, floral, and tropical plants, with a tradeshow of more than 200,000 square feet of show-stopping displays. While checking out new plants and products is a great excuse to travel to South Florida in late January, the threat of Storm Jonas bringing the snowstorm of the century to the Mid-Atlantic and Southern states had some show attendees booking flights early to get home before they were stranded. Still, reports from FNGLA said this year’s TPIE […]

Read More
Rhododendron ‘Dandy Man’ (Proven Winners ColorChoice Shrubs)

February 2, 2016

Spring Meadow Nursery Partnering With Proven Winners Eu…

The expansion creates a cohesive brand for what is now a global market, immediately introducing more than 24 shrubs to the European market, with the potential for 125 or more in the future.

Read More

February 2, 2016

19 Strategies To Strengthen The Horticulture Industry

In Greenhouse Grower’s annual State Of The Industry Survey, we asked how your operation is living the GROW initiative’s five pillars: cultivate new customers, demand quality, drive consumer success, invest in the industry, and sharpen business management. Here is what you had to say.

Read More

February 1, 2016

Stores Big On Plant Sales Vs. Stores With Diverse Produ…

Stores with most of their gross sales coming from plants tend to think those where plants generate less than half of annual sales are ... not quite legitimate. So we took a closer look at what kind of differences we could find between the two groups, and discovered several surprising results.

Read More

February 1, 2016

Vendor Day At Osuna Nursery Draws Gardeners And Builds …

The New Mexico-based garden retailer invites all its vendors to meet its customers one day a year, and give customers access to deeply knowledgeable representatives, and giving vendors a chance to meet the public in a way not usually available to them.

Read More

February 1, 2016

12 New Poinsettias For Holiday Growing

Poinsettias are still a consumer favorite during the holidays for home décor and gift giving. For greenhouse growers looking to get a jumpstart on purchasing young plants for the 2016 poinsettia growing season, there is no shortage of great varieties to choose from. Here are 12 new varieties to keep in mind for holiday product offerings.

Read More
Texas Aquaponics

January 30, 2016

Texas A&M Extension Hosting Aquaponics Workshop In …

During the workshop, which takes place on Feb. 27, participants will help assemble and set up a fully functional aquaponics system.

Read More
Workers at The Farm at Green Village

January 30, 2016

Protect Your Love For Your Garden Work By Taking Time O…

We have an annual work rhythm that I think threatens to steal the joy we find in our industry. Our marathon run of extreme hours during the spring rush must stop.

Read More
Fertilizer Rates Feature Image

January 29, 2016

Bioworks Releases New Higher Nitrogen Fertilizer For Or…

Verdanta N-Vita 9-4-3 promotes foliar growth and features a slow release process, making nutrients available for a longer period of time.

Read More
Costa Farms

January 29, 2016

Costa Farms Named International Grower Of The Year

Costa Farms was the night’s biggest winner during an awards gala presented by the International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH) and held at IPM Essen in Germany. (Read more about the business culture that’s driven Costa’s success in Greenhouse Grower’s January 2016 feature story.) The Florida-based grower was named the International Grower Of The Year, and was chosen from a group that included eight other international companies. “This award is a reflection of our entire team, and we are all dedicated to being the best at what we do and making this company successful for the long term,” said Jose Costa, Executive Vice President of Costa’s foliage division. The AIPH awarded gold, silver, and bronze awards in three categories — Finished Plants And Trees, Young Plants, and Cut Flowers — prior to naming the big winner. Costa was the gold winner in the Finished Plants and Trees Category. Each of […]

Read More
Zinnia On ISS

January 28, 2016

NASA Astronauts Become Gardeners With First Space-Grown…

The issues faced by growing zinnias on the International Space Station offer several learning opportunities for scientists back on Earth.

Read More

January 27, 2016

Costa Farms’ Season Premier Provides Sneak Peek A…

Costa Farms presented the 2016 Season Premier at its 2-acre Trial Gardens in Miami, FL, in the third week of January. The event showcases varieties from breeders of all sizes to growers and major retail buyers, providing a look at what genetics are coming to the market and how they’ll perform in retail settings and in the landscape, when consumers bring them home. The mild winter climate in South Florida allows Costa Farms’ Research and Development Department to simulate the spring growing conditions of various regions in the country. Because each group of visitors to Costa Farms’ Trial Gardens wants to see what the new plants look like in the environments that matter to them, Season Premier offers several areas within the Trial Gardens that highlight different ways to look at the wealth of new varieties. The New Product Showcase offers a way for retailers to see how plants will […]

Read More

January 27, 2016

Garden Retail Survey Says Consumers Are Buying Annuals …

During the 2014 Greenhouse Grower GROW Summit, Susie Raker of C. Raker & Sons made a comment that hit home for everyone in the room. She said she was tired of trying to get more market share from a shrinking pie. She would much rather grow her business by having the industry expand. Susie gave voice to what just about everyone in the industry feels. It’s ridiculous to fight each other for market share when we should be focusing on fighting for our industry’s future. Simply put, we need more customers. One way to expand our customer base is to follow the lead of those in charge: consumers. Ultimately, they control how much our industry grows or slims down. To help make that happen, take a few minutes to look over the results of what we learned from retail surveys over the past few years. When retailers report what is selling […]

Read More
Dummen_Begonia_UnbelieveableFirstKiss

January 26, 2016

Dümmen Orange Acquires Florexpo Europe

After acquiring the activities of Florexpo in Costa Rica in 2015, Dümmen Orange has also acquired Florexpo Europe, a company specializing in sales, marketing, and distribution of perennials, herbs, and grasses in Europe.

Read More
[gravityform id="35" title="false" description="false"]