The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences held their awards ceremony Sunday night, as they do every year around this time. I tend to watch, not because I’ve seen much of what is up for an award, but more for the red carpet appearances prior to the ceremony.
I love seeing what the women (mostly) choose to wear, and it’s interesting to see what they think they look good in. If you’ve ever watched them, you know they run the gamut from the sublime to the ridiculous. That’s what keeps it fun.
Hollywood has several awards each year, in addition to the Oscars, such as the Golden Globes and the Emmys. Horticulture has its own annual awards too, although I don’t know that there’s anything that would compare to the Oscars exactly. But the awards for plants are no less coveted by those vying for them.
I like seeing which plants win awards every year, because like movies, the ones that win have met a certain set of criteria, depending on who is handing out the awards. Some of these criteria include being easy to grow, are widely available, and exhibit outstanding performance.
One of these awards is bestowed by the Perennial Plant Association as Plant of the Year. As I look back on past picks, as well as this year’s choice, they all are reliable plants, with most of them being very suitable for our gardens here in Northwest Ohio. The 2020 Perennial Plant of the Year is Aralia cordata ‘Sun King’.
I’ve grown this shrub for several years now and it’s one of those amazing ones that dies all the way to the ground in winter, and then comes back like gangbusters in spring and summer. Beautyberry bush (Callicarpa) is like that, too. I have serious doubts when the season starts, but neither has failed me yet. It does well in both sun and shade, although the color of the foliage will be brighter yellow in full sun. In shade, the leaves range from green to chartreuse.
Other well-known awards are given by All-America Selections (AAS). These are given at the regional and national levels, allowing them to customize best selections for the gardener. At the national level for 2020, the tomato “Apple Yellow F1” caught my eye.
It’s a cherry type and since I don’t like raw tomatoes, this tomato’s shape of a miniature yellow apple makes me want to grow it just for fun, for my husband to enjoy. It’s indeterminate and each plant will produce as many as 1000 bite-sized sweet and meaty tomatoes over the course of the season.
This year is the first time a coleus has been chosen to be an AAS winner. ‘Main Street Beale Street’ holds all kinds of appeal. It has deep rich burgundy foliage that doesn’t fade or burn, you can grow it in sun or shade, and it’s a late bloomer. (Most people pinch off coleus blooms to encourage more foliage production.)
Proven Winners has their own awards program and each year chooses plants in several categories. For 2020, The Diamond Collection of euphorbias – there are three, including Diamond Frost® – are winners in the annual category.
‘Denim ‘n Lace’ Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia) is the perennial plant winner. If you’ve never grown Russian sage, it’s worth a try, as it’s a low maintenance plant that does well in the heat of summer, like most sages.
These are a few of the most recent award winners. Have you grown any of these in your own gardens? If so, how did they perform for you? Let me know at the email address below.
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