The contest, announced in the fall of 2011, incorporated past and present AAS winners into the displays. Each entrant submitted photos, proof of publicity generated, an overall description of their design and an explanation of how they achieved the design. A total of 15 display gardens – running the gamut from small to large public gardens, seed companies, master gardener programs and university gardens – submitted complete entry packages.
Gardens were judged in three categories determined by the number of visitors received annually: fewer than 10,000 visitors; 10,001 to 100,000 visitors; and more than 100,000 visitors per year.
Ottawa’s Agriculture Canada Ornamental Gardens took second place in the 10,001 to 100,000 visitors per year category. The display, based around the theme “Birds, Bees and Butterflies Buffet,” incorporated many AAS winners that attract urban wildlife.
“They specifically chose AAS winners that were tough, resilient and an excellent food source for the wildlife,” stated a press release from AAS. “Summer newsletters created by the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm volunteers featured several articles about the special AAS winner garden along with activities held in conjunction with the contest.”
The full list of winners includes:
Category one: fewer than 10,000 visitors per year
- First place: Mississippi State University-South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station (Poplarville, Miss.)
- Second place: LSU Burden Center (Baton Rouge, La.)
- Third place: Parker Scripture Botanical Gardens at Cornell (Oriskany, NY)
Category two: 10,001 to 100,000 visitors per year
- First place: Horticultural Art Society Demonstration Garden (Colorado Springs, Colo.)
- Second place: Agriculture Canada Ornamental Gardens (Ottawa)
- Third place: Toledo Botanical Garden (Toledo, Ohio)
Category three: over 100,000 visitors per year
- First place: Rotary Botanical Gardens (Janesville, Wis.)
- Second place: Denver Botanic Gardens (Denver)
- Third place: Marjory McNeely Conservatory (Minneapolis)
All entries were judged by Chuck Bowen (editor/associate publisher of Lawn & Landscape magazine), Jeff Gibson (landscape business manager with Ball Horticultural Company) and Barbara Wise (author and director of floriculture at Landscape Services, Inc.).
A complete collection of photos from all contest entrants can be found on the All-America Selections Flickr and Facebook accounts.