AAS challenged the garden sites to create a design based on the theme “Foodscaping-Interspersing Edibles in the Ornamental Garden.” (The photos are a sampling from various gardens.)
For this challenge, AAS provided the gardens with Winner seed from the last five years. They also had the option to incorporate any older AAS Winners from the past 85 years.
Gardens not only had to create and execute a design based on this year’s theme, but also had to generate publicity about the challenge and AAS Winners as well as submit photos documenting their creations. The judges were impressed by the creativity exhibited when combining edibles and ornamentals in each of the participating gardens.
Many gardens were so successful growing their edible AAS Winners that they donated their produce to local food banks and food pantries!
• Jeff Gibson, landscape business manager, Ball Horticultural Company.
• Bruce Hellerick, director of technical services, BrightView Landscape Services
• Barbara Wise, author and sales and marketing manager, Crescent Garden.
Canadian winners included:
CATEGORY TWO: 10,001 to 100,000 VISITORS/YEAR
Second Place Winner: Jardin Daniel A Seguin, Saint-Hyacinthe. Jardin Daniel A. Séguin made a very deliberate point to promote All-America Selection (AAS) winners and demonstrate to visitors that mixing edible and ornamental plants is a winning approach. Three areas were in this year’s challenge: the roof, the wall of the eco-friendly horticulture Pavilion, and ground level beds. By exploiting different surfaces, the garden showed an innovative approach to horticulture, demonstrating its full potential, including Canada’s largest edible green wall composed of more than 1,300 plants, made up mostly of AAS Winners.
The AAS Display Garden was clearly identified with signs and identification tags. In addition to allowing visitors to identify their favorite plants, this information has an important pedagogical value for the students of the Agriculture Technology Institute of Saint-Hyacinthe who produced the winning plants in their classes. The AAS garden has been a source of discoveries throughout the summer with visitors capturing thousands of images and provoking many a "Wow" from visitors as well as from the contest’s judges.
Third Place Winner, Tie: Shell Park, Oakville, Ontario. Shell Park in Oakville, Ontario has created an AAS Display garden that has become the main attraction as you enter the park’s garden. It has increased the number of visitors who come to ask questions, learn and get ideas for their own gardens.
Through companion planting and installation of a multi-tiered wall they were able to educate the public on new ways to garden with vegetables. They found and explained how companion plantings (ex. tomatoes and peppers) increased growth and crop yield. A multi-tiered wall created from recycled materials was filled with a combination of edible and ornamental plants. It displayed an easy way to maximize plant material while saving space in a smaller garden. It also reduced the damage caused by animals and adapted the space to be more accessible. The perennial pollinator plantings from last year’s contest attracted a greater bee population which benefited this year’s growth. Due to a large crop yield, Shell Park donated a large amount of vegetables to a local street mission that provided meals to the community.
CATEORY THREE: OVER 100,000 VISITORS/YEAR
Second Place Winner: Norseco at the Botanical Garden of Montreal, Montreal. In the same vein of the pollinator challenge last year they installed 35 varieties of All-America Selections winners using as many vegetables as flowers to demonstrate the beauty, utility and pleasure of including vegetables in a development of foodscaping. Trellises and climbing structures were installed in the garden then all AAS Winner varieties were clearly marked and accessible.
All-America Selections is a non-profit organization founded in 1932 to anonymously test new plants for home gardening. We utilize a network of 80+ volunteer judges in over 40 trials grounds across North America to rate entries against comparisons. We then use an active publicity program to promote the best performers that are declared AAS Winners.