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GARDENING : All-America Winners for '91 : The four flowers, three flower bedding plants and three vegetables chosen should be available for next season's gardens.

September 08, 1990|EARL ARONSON

The All-America Selections, which each year cites outstanding new plants, has announced its 1991 winners. Included are four flowers, three flower bedding plants and three vegetables. All should be available for next season's gardens.

There are three vincas among the flower winners. Vincas are considered challenging to grow from seed in the home garden, but not difficult as bedding plants.

The flower winners are:

* Gaillardia pulchella Red Plume, an annual with 2-inch double brick-red blooms. Plant height 12 to 14 inches. Weather-tolerant plants flower freely, fairly drought-resistant. Easy to grow from seed, which may be started indoors four to six weeks before last frost. Cover seed lightly and transplant into full-sun garden 10 to 12 inches apart.

* Geranium Freckles has bicolor florets of pink with a rose spot on each petal. Early flowering, 12 to 14 inches tall. Low garden maintenance. Likes full sun. Good in containers. Sow seed indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost in a sterile germination medium. Cover seeds lightly and keep medium moist and at 70 to 75 degrees. Transplant when first leaves appear. Grow in south window with direct sunlight; transplant outdoors, 10 to 12 inches apart.

* Pansy Padparadja, an improved orange pansy without a face. Named for rare sapphire found in Sri Lanka. Blooms 1 to 2 inches; plant is 6 to 8 inches high. Good weather tolerance; prefers cool weather. Sow seed indoors, cover lightly, maintain uniform moisture and temperature of 65 to 75 degrees. Transplant seedlings into 1- to 2-inch containers. Harden off; plant in garden before heat of summer.

Vinca Pretty in Blue, Vinca Parasol and Vinca Pretty in Pink--the first is a flower winner, the others are both flower and bedding-plant winners.

Vinca Pretty in Rose is an almost purple flower with overlapping petals. It enjoys heat and full sun; needs little maintenance. Mature plant is 16 inches tall, 14 inches wide. Glossy dark green foliage; does not tolerate cold. Sow indoors six to eight weeks before last frost in sterile germination medium. Keep in darkness until seed has germinated, seven to 14 days. Then, place seed in sunny, warm area for three weeks. Let medium dry between waterings; when soil is warm, plant outdoors 10 to 14 inches apart.

Vinca Parasol has large white blooms with red centers. Heat-tolerant Vinca Pretty in Pink is a breeding breakthrough for color in vinca.

Pansy F1 Maxim Marina is a bedding plant winner, the first pansy to receive the AAS bedding-plant award. Light blue petals, with dark blue face outlined in white, 1- to 2-inch blooms. Excellent heat-tolerance. Mature plants 10 inches tall and spread about 12 inches.

Vegetable winners are:

* Bean Kentucky Blue, a pole bean combining Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake, produces beans in about 58 days. Harvest round, smooth pods when 6 to 7 inches long for optimum flavor and tenderness. Place vines on vertical structure (trellis) to encourage upward growth. Water as needed.

* Watermelon F1 Golden Crown has a golden color, matures in 75 to 80 days, earlier if transplants are grown. Vine spreads 6 to 9 feet. Melons weigh 5 to 7 pounds. AAS judges report melon is very sweet. Plant seeds indoors four to six weeks before last frost, or outdoors when soil warms. Plant 3 to 4 feet apart, rows 6 feet apart.

* Squash F1 Tivoli is an improved vegetable spaghetti type with bush habit. Space 2 to 4 feet apart. Matures in about 100 days. Blocky, oblong shape, weighs 2 to 4 pounds.

Distributed by AP Newsfeatures.

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