All-American Selections Start Off 2019

By Ray Novitske, Fairfax Master Gardener
All-American Selections Inc., the non-profit organization that makes annual selections of the best plants, has announced 11 winners for 2019. This year, seven edibles made the annual list. They represent the plants that demonstrate the best garden performance across North America in 2018 as a result of growing in trial and test gardens.

Judging is performed by selected industry experts, past judges, universities, public gardens, growers, brokers, extension agents and retailers. More information about the history and judging by the organization can be found in our story about the 2017 winners, Calling All-Americans.

Begonia Marigold
Begonia Viking Red on Chocolate
A begonia with deep bronze leaf color that remains intense throughout the season and vibrant red flowers. An amazing performer; were amazed at how dark the foliage stays throughout the season. Absolutely gorgeous. National Winner.
Marigold Big Duck Gold
Very large golden-yellow flowers that bloom longer than other marigolds and produce clean, deep-green foliage. National Winner.
Silver Wave Melom Nasturtium
Melon Orange SilverWave
A melon with sweet orange flesh and a unique silver-green rind. Regional Winner.
Nasturtium ‘Baby Rose’
The first nasturtium to win AAS recognition since the 1930s. Rose-colored petite flowers and a mound of healthy dark foliage make this plant ideal for containers and small gardens. Totally tiny and a great way to enjoy nasturtiums without needing a square mile for them to sprawl! Regional Winner — Heartland.
Pepper "just Sweet' Petunia Wave
Pepper Just Sweet
A snacking pepper with a vivid yellow color and a sweet flavor. Plants are vigorous, bushy and don’t need staking. So sturdy, so tasty; perfect for a healthy lunch or a decadent treat when stuffed and roasted. National Winner.
Petunia Wave Carmine Velour
Large, intense carmine rose flowers cover this spreading Wave Petunia all summer. Excels in containers and garden beds. National Winner.
Tomato Chefs Choice Black Tomato Fire Fly
Tomato Chef’s Choice Black
A beefsteak tomato with dark streaks and a meaty interior. Plants are vigorous, healthy and uniform. Another wonderful entry from the Chef’s Choice series, a line praised for hybrid durability and heirloom flavor. Regional Winner.
Tomato Fire Fly
A small, pale yellow-fruited tomato with a sweet taste and mildly acidic flavor. Plants grow 5 to 6 feet tall and have good disease resistance. Harvesters were shocked at how large the plants grew and how many tasty little tomatoes they produced. National Winner.
Tomato Red Torch Tomato Sparky
Tomato Red Torch
A very prolific early season producer with excellent flavor and great texture. Plants are 5 to 6 feet tall and show strong tolerance to environmental stresses. Both ‘Red Torch’ and ‘Sparky XSL’ look as good as they taste and elevate any table-scape, as well as capturing the starring role in summer salads and snacks. National Winner.
Tomato Sparky ‘XLS’
A cherry tomato with X-tended Shelf Life (XSL) that is early to mature, prolific and very flavorful. Fruits are very sweet. Regional Winner — Heartland.
Watermelon Bush Cal Sweet
Watermelon ‘Cal Sweet Bush’
Very compact vine that produces two to three fruits with excellent taste and texture. Regional Winner.

In our area, the annual winners can be viewed growing at the following gardens during the growing season:
• Brookside Gardens, Wheaton, MD
• Clyburn Arboretum, Baltimore, MD
• Parkside High A+ Garden, Salisbury, MD
• Virginia Tech Hampton Roads, Virginia Beach, VA
• J. Sargeant Reynolds Community Garden, Goochland, VA
• Norfolk Botanical Garden, Norfolk, VA
• Virginia Western Community College, Roanoke, VA
• Frederick County Career and Technology Center, Frederick, MD
• Willow Oaks, Richmond, VA

All American Selections