After 80 years of exclusively trialing new seed varieties, All-America Selections (AAS) is making the decision to include vegetative ornamentals in the trialing program for 2013.
As the industry continues to shift to producing and consuming more vegetative varieties, AAS announced the organization will parallel its efforts to coincide with those of the industry. In a press release, AAS writes that adding vegetative entries broadens the scope of the organization on a very practical level and ensures its continued growth. To most of today’s consumers, a flower is a flower, so granting the AAS Winner award to the best-performing flower entries, no matter if produced from seed or a cutting, reinforces the message that an AAS Winner provides superior garden performance.
“The All-America Selections Board of Directors has given a lot of time and energy to making this important step for the organization,” says Executive Director Diane Blazek. “We felt that after eighty years of trialing experience and granting over 700 awards, we have the history and experience to successfully expand into vegetative ornamentals and do it correctly. It’s a very exciting time to be involved with AAS.”
The pilot program of trialing vegetative entries will begin in 2013. A select number of trial judges from across the U.S. and Canada have been invited to participate. Breeders can begin submitting a limited number of entry applications this August with a deadline of November 1, 2012. Vegetative entries will be trialed in containers next to comparisons of similar vegetative varieties already on the market. All other aspects of the AAS Vegetative Ornamental Trials will closely resemble those of the flower seed trials.
Future AAS Winners from the Vegetative Trials will be announced at one of the three times, just as seed winners are: late January, early July or early November.