Meghan’s Picks: American Garden Award

The American Garden Award, now in its second year, places several new flower varieties at public gardens nationwide, and visitors vote on their favorites. The 2010 votes have been tallied and the three winners are:

Rudbeckia 'Denver Daisy'Grand Prize Winner
Rudbeckia ‘Denver Daisy’ by Ernst Benary of America
‘Denver Daisy’ wowed voters with masses of reddish-ringed golden flowers with chocolate-brown centers. The long-lasting, 4- to 6-inch blooms proved their ability to stand up under extreme weather conditions. This variety was created and named in honor of Denver’s 150th anniversary.

Second Place Winner
Echinacea 'Prairie Splendor'Echinacea ‘Prairie Splendor’ by Syngenta Flowers
Large and abundant flowers bloom non-stop from early summer well into the fall. ‘Prairie Splendor’ is a stunning first year flowering perennial that will add years of enjoyment to a sunny perennial border. The 3-inch flowers attracted voters and butterflies alike. Spent blooms, if left on the plant, provide winter food for birds.

Third Place Winner
'Purple Flash' pepperOrnamental Pepper ‘Purple Flash’ by PanAmerican Seed
‘Purple Flash’ enhances mixed containers and in-ground plantings with striking color. Its layered leaves are almost black with “flashes” of bright purple, topped with small, round, glossy black peppers (too hot to eat!). Purple Flash offers great drought tolerance, taking sizzling summer conditions in stride.

2010 participating gardens:
Birmingham Botanical Gardens
Boerner Botanical Gardens
Cantigny Gardens
Chicago Botanic Garden
Chicago Park District
Cole Gardens
Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Garden
Denver Botanic Gardens
Longwood Gardens
Massachusetts Horticultural Society
Missouri Botanical Garden
Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City
Oregon State Fairgrounds
Park Seed Company
Pier 39, Inc.
Rotary Botanical Gardens
San Francisco Botanical Garden
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Horticulture January 2010 is available as a download; it includes info on more award-winning plants.

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