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

More From ...
lighting feature

June 29, 2015

Customizing Crop Foliage Color With LEDs: Red Leaf Lettuce

In the first of a four-part series highlighting the multiple uses of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), researchers share how end-of-production supplemental lighting with LEDs enhances red leaf lettuce color prior to harvesting and shipping.

Read More
LuxFlora logo feature image

June 29, 2015

Luxflora Wants To Create A Lifestyle Movement

A new organization for women in horticulture plans to take on some of the industry’s toughest marketing challenges by promoting the use of flowers and plants in everyday living.

Read More
window flower boxes

June 28, 2015

The Horticulturist And The Decorator

Allan Armitage tells shares a story about a horticulturist and a decorator to illustrate why gardening and decorating are not jobs; they are simply meant to bring pleasure.

Read More
Latest Stories
lighting feature

June 29, 2015

Customizing Crop Foliage Color With LEDs: Red Leaf Let…

In the first of a four-part series highlighting the multiple uses of light-emitting diodes (LEDs), researchers share how end-of-production supplemental lighting with LEDs enhances red leaf lettuce color prior to harvesting and shipping.

Read More
LuxFlora logo feature image

June 29, 2015

Luxflora Wants To Create A Lifestyle Movement

A new organization for women in horticulture plans to take on some of the industry’s toughest marketing challenges by promoting the use of flowers and plants in everyday living.

Read More
window flower boxes

June 28, 2015

The Horticulturist And The Decorator

Allan Armitage tells shares a story about a horticulturist and a decorator to illustrate why gardening and decorating are not jobs; they are simply meant to bring pleasure.

Read More

June 28, 2015

Keep Your Cool In The Greenhouse

Summer is in full swing, and that means growers need to worry about protecting plants and greenhouse employees from brutal temperatures. No sweat! These product manufacturers have offerings to help beat the heat.

Read More
Feature image The 2015 Perennial Plant Of The Year, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo.’

June 27, 2015

Perennial Plant Association Wins The 2015 Excellence In…

With its emphasis on education and its Perennial Plant Of The Year program, the Perennial Plant Association boosted the popularity of perennials and helped make it the vital category it is.

Read More
Prewashing surfaces and produce can reduce debris in wash solutions.

June 27, 2015

Keeping Your Greenhouse Fruits And Vegetables Safe: San…

The last article in the four-part food safety series highlights sanitation training, policies and protocols to maintain for an effective and successful food safety program.

Read More
cannabis, marijuana plant

June 27, 2015

Concern Grows Over Unregulated Pesticide Use On Cannabi…

As most growers know well, the federal government regulates all insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and other commercial chemicals used on agricultural crops. Therein lies the problem with use of chemicals on cannabis crops – so far, the feds want nothing to do with legalized marijuana. According to “Concern Grows Over Unregulated Pesticide Use On Cannabis,” a June 17 article on the National Public Radio (NPR) network by Agribusiness Reporter Luke Runyon, the lack of regulated chemicals for cannabis has left growers to experiment on their own. “In the absence of any direction the subject of pesticide use on the crop has just devolved to whatever people think is working or they think is appropriate,” said Colorado State University Entomologist Whitney Cranshaw in the NPR report. “Sometimes they’ve used some things that are appropriate, sometimes unsafe.” Denver officials held tens of thousands of marijuana plants earlier this year due to safety concerns, but […]

Read More
Petunia-cultivarsSelecta4CMYK

June 26, 2015

Selecta Klemm’s ‘Night Sky’ Wins Fleu…

Fleuroselect, the international organization for the ornamental plants industry, announced that the FleuroStar Award 2015/16 was given to petunia cultivar ‘Night Sky’ from Selecta Klemm. Andrea Dohm, director of breeding and research and Antonella Capo, breeder of ‘Night Sky,’ accepted the prize from Fleuroselect President Herman Hamer, FleuroStar Committee Chairman Heike Gronemann and Secretary General of Fleuroselect Sally van der Horst. The winner was announced at the Green Inspiration Event on Thursday, June 11 in Bleiswijk, Netherlands. The new networking event is organized by the Dutch media agency TuinbouwCommunicatie in cooperation with Fleuroselect. Selecta Klemm’s ‘Night Sky’ was competing against Begonia tuberhybrida F1 ‘Nonstop JOY Yellow’ (Benary), Bidens hybrida ‘Beedance Painted Red’ (Moerheim New Plant) and Osteospermum ecklonis ‘Serenity Blue Eyed Beauty’ (Florensis). ‘NightSky,’ The Rising Star In Garden Centers ‘Night Sky’s White spots on the dark-violet flowers look like an ever-changing star constellation. This cutting-raised newcomer is easy to grow and […]

Read More
Figure 1. Pak Choi grown in a deep plug tray on a flood and drain bench.

June 26, 2015

The Intrigue Of Edible Petiole Crops For Hydroponic Pr…

In a twist to traditional field production, experiments with petiole crops Pak Choi, kale and Swiss chard determine their suitability for hydroponic production systems using plug trays.

Read More

June 25, 2015

Berger And Theriault & Hachey Peat Moss Form Strate…

A strategic alliance between Berger and Theriault & Hachey Peat Moss allows Berger to continue to meet its customers by ensuring the continuity of its Baie-Sainte-Anne and Bay du Vin facilities for the next 40 years.

Read More
Carol Miller

June 25, 2015

Anatomy Of How A Garden Retail Business Deal Is Made

For the regional chain SummerWinds, a clear-eyed assessment of suppliers is needed for both to succeed in a competitive market.

Read More
Syngenta Vegetable Trial Overview

June 25, 2015

Vegetable Trials Test Variety Adaptability In Contain…

How do crossover varieties normally grown by fresh market farmers, and now available to home gardeners, perform in patio containers? Vegetable container trials at Syngenta Flowers show surprising results.

Read More
Feature image The 2015 Perennial Plant Of The Year, Geranium x cantabrigiense ‘Biokovo.’

June 25, 2015

Perennial Plant Association Names Six Scholarship Winne…

The Perennial Plant Association awards six scholarships for horticulture students to attend its July perennial plant symposium, plus a stipend of $1,000.

Read More

June 24, 2015

Perennial Container Combos And New Intros Shine At 2015…

Despite a rainy start to the day, more than 300 perennial enthusiasts showed up at 2015 Darwin Perennials Day to see the latest perennial introductions first-hand and connect with some of the best suppliers in the business.

Read More
2015 Readers' Choice

June 24, 2015

The 2015 Readers’ Choice Finalists Up Close And P…

You’ve narrowed the Readers’ Choice Finalists down to top picks in the Annuals, Perennials and Best of the Rest categories. Now it’s time to pick the overall winner. Here’s a closer look at the three finalists to help you make your choice. Then join us during Cultivate'15 at Greenhouse Grower's prestigious Medal of Excellence reception on Monday, July 13, where we will reveal the winner.

Read More
baker creative

June 23, 2015

Baker Creative Wins International Award For Work With J…

Baker Creative, a local branding agency, was recently selected as a Gold Award winner for the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals’ 2015 Hermes Creative Awards. Baker Creative won in the Advertising/Direct Mail Piece category for creating a factory opening invitation mailer for Jiffy Group . Hermes Creative Awards is an international competition for creative professionals involved in the concept, writing and design of traditional and emerging media. The Hermes Gold Award is presented to those entries judged to exceed the high standards of the industry norm. Only 22 percent of the entrants received the award. “When Jiffy needed to make a splash to draw attention to the opening of its new substrate facility in West Bridgewater, Mass., we turned to Baker Creative. The video card created by Baker Creative assisted us greatly with getting the much needed attention when inviting professional growers to the official opening,” a Jiffy Group […]

Read More
AmericanHort_HortScholars

June 23, 2015

AmericanHort Announces 2015 HortScholars

AmericanHort has selected six students from across the country to serve as this year’s HortScholars. This rigorous, competitive application process identifies some of the industry’s brightest professionals and helps to launch their careers in horticulture by providing education and networking opportunities. The goal of the HortScholars program is to provide students with an enriching professional development experience that increases their knowledge, industry awareness and career enthusiasm. 2015 HortScholars: • Sarah Leach Smith, University of Delaware • Bobby Nance, Virginia Tech • Madeline Olberg, Purdue University • Nick Sobecki, Ohio University • Emily Teng, University of Hawaii • William Yoho Jr,, Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute HortScholars will be on-site at Cultivate’15 (July 11-14 in Columbus, Ohio) and receive complimentary Cultivate registration, lodging and meals. Additionally, they will receive a complimentary one-year AmericanHort membership. On-site at Cultivate’15, HortScholars will assist the Generation Next Community with events, conduct presentations that share […]

Read More
July 2015_GROW Perspective_Katie Ketelson

June 23, 2015

MegaMashups Take Plants To The People

It’s no secret I love plants. It’s probably not much of a secret that I love beer, too. And in my perfect world, I’d have a permanent beer garden decorated with galvanized containers stuffed full of flowers, high-rising arches of hops and endless rows of hydroponic strawberries for everbearing enjoyment. But all that costs mega money, so I’ve settled (for now) on orchestrating mega mashups focused on my loves mentioned above, striving to reach an audience that doesn’t even know our industry exists. I’ve long preached about how we need to go to the people. Meet them on their turf, so-to-speak. We can’t expect Gen X or the Millennials, or heck, even my parents, to walk into our garden centers on a whimsy. And frankly, why would you want to be so passive? Your customer spends their extra dollars at the coffee shop, at the mall and at the bar. […]

Read More