All-America Selection trials are a useful tool

“Tested nationally and proven locally” is the slogan used by the All-America Selections organization in reference to their more than 330 individual varieties that have been named winners.

AAS has been conducting trials around the country for 82 years. We have one of the only trial sites in Ohio located at our gardens. The trials are planted and maintained by Ohio State University Extension Master Gardeners of Clark County.

Before a trial site is selected, the committee determines if the site as well as the judge meets the criteria. We became a trial site three years ago.

AAS is the oldest independent organization trialing and testing vegetables as well as annual flowers. In 2016 they will begin trialing perennial plants.

Breeders who are working on new varieties enter their plants in the trial. These plants are then compared side by side with similar varieties that are tried and true. They are evaluated to see how they stand up to the comparisons.

The evaluations take place at more than 80 trial sites around North America.

Judges turn their scores in at the end of a growing season and they are all compiled and then winners are announced.

In Clark County, we have ornamental trials and have not entered the world of vegetable trialing. These trials are in conjunction with our University trials where we evaluate the plants based on their own merit.

Those of us judging the plants know when we have a winner. The plant is superior to the other comparisons and has exceptional qualities.

Winners are then promoted by the AAS organization and you can rest-assured that these plants will perform in your landscape and garden.

The most recent bedding plant winners that just blew the others away included two petunias, Tidal Wave Red Velour and Trilogy Red. Both of these were fantastic performers.

Tidal Wave Red Velour is a little darker red and has an excellent spreading capability.

Trilogy Red is more of a scarlet red and doesn’t spread as much; it’s more of a clumping petunia.

Another winner from last year is Salvia Summer Jewel White. This provided a splash of white color to the flower beds. It’s compact, growing to around 12 inches tall and doesn’t require deadheading.

We had a Dianthus variety last year that was called Jolt Pink. It was really nice for most of the season. Dianthus tend to fade a little during the heat of the summer but this one hung on for a longer period of time.

As I mentioned, we don’t trial vegetables, but you can find a list of all of the vegetable and other winners on the AAS website. Go to

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