Annuals · Container Gardening

Flowering annuals win 2016 All-American Selection Flower Awards.

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Geranium Brocade Fire – Photo courtesy of AAS.

All-American Selections has chosen three annuals as recipients of their AAS Flower Awards for 2016.

Geranium Brocade Cherry Night

Photo courtesy of AAS.
Geranium Brocade Cherry Night – Photo courtesy of AAS.

The cherry pink flowers of Geranium Brocade Cherry Night are cute and sassy but I will grow this plant for its foliage. Striking, unique, distinctive… all good descriptors for the deep bronze leaves outlined in chartreuse.

Solar Power Lime sweet potato vine would bring out the chartreuse edge of the geranium.
Solar Power Lime sweet potato vine brings out the chartreuse edge of the geranium.

I can imagine Geranium Brocade Cherry Night planted with chartreuse sweet potato vine to highlight the edging color, a bright pink-flowering million bells (Calibrachoa) to echo the geranium’s bloom color, and a small ornamental grass for a vertical and textural element. Can you picture it?

Geranium Brocade Fire

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Geranium Brocade Fire – Photo courtesy of AAS.

The foliage of this winner presents the same colors as Brocade Cherry Night, but in different proportions. The bright green margins are considerably wider, and the bronze tones are confined to the center of leaves. Orange, semi-double flowers bloom nonstop throughout the season.

The dark foliage of Solar Power Red sweet potato vine would bring out the bronze centers of the geranium's foliage.
The dark foliage of Solar Power Red sweet potato vine highlights the bronze centers of the geranium’s foliage.

I picture Geranium Brocade Fire in a blazing combination in a large cobalt blue glazed pot. Suitable spillers would include Little Ruby Alternanthera or a dark sweet potato vine like Solar Power Red. Choose Durango Yellow marigolds to accompany Geranium Brocade Fire in an analogous color scheme.

Lantana 'Little Lucky Hot Pink'
Be bold and partner Geranium Brocade Cherry Night with Lantana Little Lucky Hot Pink.

Or create the unexpected by choosing Little Lucky Hot Pink Lantana. Wow! This is more my style. Either way, pop in purple fountain grass or Red Star Cordyline for height.

Salvia Summer Jewel Lavender

Photo courtesy of AAS.
Salvia Summer Jewel Lavender – Photo courtesy of AAS.

The dusty lavender-purple flowers bloom continuously all summer long even without deadheading! Plant this on a sunny deck and enjoy hummingbirds and butterflies stopping by for a drink of nectar.

Silver Dust dusty miller
Create a romantic combo when you pair Salvia Summer Jewel Lavender with Silver Dust dusty miller.

I think Summer Jewel Lavender Salvia would be gorgeous planted alongside annuals or perennials with silver foliage. Consider Silver Mound Artemesia or lamb’s ear in a perennial border or dusty miller in a container. Add a deep purple flowering or foliage accent to fashion an enchanting grouping.

Check out the AAS website for more information. Which of these AAS award winners will end up onto your wish lists? These may all find their way into my landscape this season. Garden with me!

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