University of Vermont Extension
Winter, Spring News
Department of Plant and Soil Science
AND VEGETABLES FOR 2012
Dr. Leonard Perry, Extension
University of Vermont
Each year the best of the new
flowers, blooming the first year from seed, and new vegetables are
winners by the All-America Selections (AAS) program. These winners
are the result of trials across
North America, against existing cultivars (cultivated varieties)
exist. In this case, the new
introduction must show some new or improved trait. There are two
AAS winning flowers and two
vegetables for 2012. All grow best in
well-drained soils, and full sun.
‘Black Olive’ is an ornamental
pepper flower award winner. This low plant only reaches a foot or
and about a foot wide. The shiny,
slightly elongated fruit start out purple and turn red as they
mature. These contrast nicely with the purple
leaves. If you can’t find this one nor
start it yourself from seeds, look for the similar ‘Pretty in
Purple’ or ‘Black
Pearl’. And yes, fruit of ‘Black Olive’ are edible and fiery hot.
‘Summer Jewel Pink’ salvia is the other
winning AAS flower for this year. It is
sage type of
salvia, having long stems about a foot and a half high with flowers
mostly above the leaves. The common name
is misleading, as this cultivar has lovely light pink flowers rather
scarlet of the species, and of its relative ‘Summer Jewel Red’.
This salvia series is more compact and
flowers earlier than the species and other selections. The flowers,
though pink, attract hummingbirds.
Another common name is Hummingbird sage.
‘Cayennetta’ pepper is one of the
award-winning new vegetables. It is a
chili pepper, with mildly spicy fruits that reach 3 to 4-inches
tapered and elongated fruit reach about 3-inches long, starting
turning red when mature. One reason to
choose this one, in addition to its taste, is that it grows upright
branched, requiring no staking. At up to
24 inches high and a bit less wide, it works well in patio gardens
containers. The dense foliage helps
prevent sun scorch on fruit. This pepper
grows better than many in cold climates, having good cold tolerance.
‘Faerie’ is the other winning
vegetable for 2012, a watermelon with oval fruit about 8-inches long
weighing 4 to 6 pounds each when mature.
The fruit are unusual in their color, as well as attractive, being
creamy yellow with thin green stripes outside while remaining
inside. Fruit also have a high sugar
content and crisp texture. Vines are
vigorous yet only reach about 10 feet in spread, making them good
spaces. Another bonus to this selection
is its tolerance to insects and diseases. With only 72 days from
harvest in many areas, this watermelon would be good to try in areas
To learn about more recent winners,
visit the All-America Selections website
(www.all-americaselections.org). Ratings on how these, and many
flowers have performed at our award-winning AAS display garden on
Burlington waterfront can be found on Perry’s Perennial Pages
this information in selecting which you may want to grow this year
performance in the north, and for the longest lasting blooms.