All-America Selections has announced the winners of the first Landscape Design Contest.
The contest is for AAS display gardens that incorporate AAS Winners both past and present.
To be considered, landscapes had to contain a minimum of 50 percent AAS winners. Judging was based on quantity of AAS varieties, overall attractiveness of the landscape design, promotion of the display to local media and garden visitors, creative use of AAS winners and more.
Here are the 2012 winners:
Category I: fewer than 10,000 visitors per year
First Place Winner: Mississippi State University-South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station, Poplarville, Mississippi. With a theme of “Bridging the Seasons with All-America Selections” the South Mississippi Branch Experiment Station did a fantastic job of changing their plantings of AAS Winners according to the season. The judges noted how precise Mississippi State University was in their labeling of AAS Winners, their orderly submission of contest materials, the high quality photos, the pleasing plantings and even the video they submitted that aired on local TV.
Second Place Winner: LSU Burden Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Our judges were very impressed with the leadership of this project and how they so obviously put a lot of time and professionalism into their beautiful semi-formal garden design. By using twenty-three AAS Winners in a location next to their Le Jarden des Enfants, they were able to provide education to children focusing on vegetable, herb and butterfly garden plantings.
Third Place Winner: Parker Scripture Botanical Gardens, Cornell, Oriskany, New York. The beautifully constructed raised-bed design at this site, along with high-quality photographs made this garden a standout entry. From the beginning, the garden engaged the local Future Farmers of America (FFA) students to start the seeds then allowed the area’s Master Gardener Volunteers to tend to the creative garden plantings. Well-documented publicity reached a very impressive number of local students, master gardeners, home gardeners, educators, teen groups and others.
Category II: 10,001 – 100,000 visitors per year
First Place Winner: Horticultural Art Society Demonstration Garden, Colorado Springs, CO. With a theme of “Winners through the Decades” using AAS Vegetable Winners, the Horticultural Art Society took advantage of this contest to educate garden visitors on two main subjects: the All-America Selections trialing process and the many ways to grow vegetables in a home garden. They combined vertical gardening, raised beds, and square foot gardening then highlighted local sourcing since they were able to purchase 90% of the past AAS Winners from local retailers. Only 10% had to be ordered online. Our judges really liked how the Horticultural Art Society engaged the local community including hort clubs, students, bicycle tour groups, summer campers, plant sale patrons and their own 50th anniversary celebrants. And the topper? They did all this with only one employee!
Second Place Winner: Agriculture Canada Ornamental Gardens, Ottawa, Ontario. Another garden to use a theme, this one being “Birds, Bees and Butterflies Buffet” which was a creative way to incorporate many AAS Winners that attract urban wildlife. They specifically chose AAS Winners that were tough, resilient and an excellent food source for the wildlife. 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.
Third Place Winner: Toledo Botanical Garden, Toledo, OH. The judges loved how Toledo Botanical Garden designed their display with youngsters in mind since their AAS Landscape Design area was situated right next to their Children’s Garden. And they sensibly mixed some of the newer AAS Winners with popular heirlooms to show and explain the advantages of both. With their stated function being “to provide people with inspiration for what they might be able to grow in their yard,” we think they were very successful in fulfilling that mission.
Category III: Over 100,000 visitors per year
First Place Winner: Rotary Botanical Gardens, Janesville, Wisconsin. First and foremost, the photos Rotary submitted highlighted their expertly designed garden beds that were bursting with color coming from the AAS Winners. The judges loved how engaged Rotary’s staff and volunteers were in this project and it resulted in an impressive amount of publicity in the area’s media. Rotary featured the contest in numerous press releases, blogs and Facebook posts. Plus, they used an impressive 127 AAS Winners in their landscape design—the highest number of any contest entry.
Second Place Winner: Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, Colorado. Denver presented a very well thought-out design using the All-America Selections Winners in numerous color palettes, located in a high-traffic event area. This was one of the best examples of incorporating edibles into an ornamental display, which was a very clever way to use both vegetable and flower AAS Winners, made even better by the fact that the garden donated the vegetable produce to a local food pantry.
Third Place Winner: Marjory McNeely Conservatory, Minneapolis, Minnesota. By using their Welcome Garden as the focal point to the entrance to their conservatory, this impressive garden brought the AAS Winners front and center to their visitors. By creatively building around their already established perennial grasses, the Conservatory was able to create an eye-catching design offering perennials and annuals in a great combination using texture to its full advantage.
A complete collection of photos from all contest entrants can be found on the All-America SelectionsFlickr and Facebook accounts.