B. Rosie Lerner
Purdue Extension


Download the audio files or subscribe to our podcast.





Download the audio of Yard & Garden News: MP3, WMV.

All-America Winners for 2004

If you're looking for something new to add to next year's garden, All-America Selections (AAS) has chosen five new flowers and three vegetables for 2004. These new cultivars have been judged superior in their class based on their performance in test gardens all over the country.

Two new Celosia cultivars head this year's list of winners. 'Fresh Look Yellow' is a low-maintenance, colorful addition to the bedding garden, sporting large, golden-yellow plumes that reach up to 9 inches tall and 6 inches wide. As the main plume fades, it is camouflaged by side plumes, which reduces the need for deadheading. 'Fresh Look Red' has a slightly smaller plume but continues to perform with fresh side plumes all summer long. The flowers on both of these new cultivars are excellent as fresh or dried cut flowers, as well.

The petite Limbo Violet' petunia moves away from the "wave" of trailing petunias. Reaching a mere 6-7 inches tall and up to 12 inches in spread, 'Limbo Violet' will not require any pinching or pruning to maintain its tidy, well-behaved form. Despite its dwarf size, the large 2-3 inch single blooms will shout with velvety, violet color.

Another dwarf that towers in color is Hollyhock 'Queeny Purple,' the shortest Alcea rosea and the first purple hollyhock available as a single color (not part of a mixture). The 3-4 inch blooms feature a cushion center with a frilly edge. Yet, the plants reach a mature height of only 20 to 30 inches.

Gypsophila 'Gypsy Deep Rose' is an annual baby's breath with delicate, rose-like blooms. The mounded plant habit reaches up to 10 inches tall with a slightly larger spread. 'Gypsy Deep Rose' thrives best in full sun and adapts well to the container garden.

For the vegetable garden, Melon 'Amy' is an early, yet high-yielding, specialty melon with smooth, bright, golden-yellow skin indicating it's ready for harvest. The juicy, white flesh has great flavor and aroma with a relatively small seed cavity. 'Amy' will produce melons in 70 to 80 days from transplanting on vigorous spreading vines.

Watermelon 'Sweet Beauty' packs sweet flavor and crisp texture into a small, "ice box"- size package. Weighing in at 5 to 7 pounds, these oblong melons, with dark green skin and medium green stripes, are the ultimate in convenient, single-serving size. But the plants are far from compact, spreading about 8-10 feet in the garden! 'Sweet Beauty' melons are ready to pick about 77 to 80 days from sowing seed directly into the garden.

Winter squash 'Sunshine' boasts a bright orange-red skin surrounding the 3- to 4-pound, flattened-globe fruit on semi-compact vines. The bright orange, smooth-textured flesh is sweet and nutty in flavor. 'Sunshine' is ready to harvest about 95 to 100 days from sowing seed or 80 days from transplants.

AAS winners are selected from many new cultivars, based on garden performance as well as performance in the greenhouse. Although no plant offers a guarantee of success in an individual garden, the AAS winners have proven themselves worthy over a broad range of growing conditions. Try these new selections alongside your old standbys so you'll have a means of comparison. AAS winners should be available through local garden centers and mail order catalogs next spring. For more information about these and previous year's winners, point your Web browser to


Writer: B. Rosie Lerner
Editor: Olivia Maddox