Three years ago, All-America Selections (AAS) launched a new contest for almost 200 Display Gardens to encourage new and exciting landscaping ideas with AAS Winners. The success of the program has been beyond expectations and continues to grow and impress every year. 2014’s contest asked participants to expand on a theme of using containers in the landscape.
This contest is a landscape design contest incorporating AAS Winners, past and present. Each garden is responsible for creating and executing the design, generating publicity surrounding the contest then submitting the photos, proof of publicity and an overall description of their design. All-America Selections is extremely pleased with not only the number of gardens that participated but also the broad range of garden types: large and small public gardens, seed companies, community gardens, master gardener programs and university gardens. All-America Selections salutes all the gardens and their impressive efforts to produce an attractive display of AAS Winners.
At the end of the season, each garden submitted photos of their displays which were used by our judges to determine the winning entries. Our esteemed judges were:
- Jeff Gibson, Landscape Business Manger, Ball Horticultural Company
- Bruce Hellerick, Senior Horticulture Specialist, The Brickman Group
- Susan Schmitz, Trials and Education Manager, Ball Horticultural Company
- Barbara Wise, author and Director of Floriculture, Landscape Services, Inc.
We are pleased to present the 2014 winners in each category, based on number of garden visitors per year.
Category I (0-10,000 visitors)
Spooner , WI USA
“Down on the Farm” was the theme for this Display Garden, celebrating family farmers who survived through hard work and ingenuity. Using salvaged typical household items, they organized and planted garden rooms then filled and interspersed those items with AAS Winners to provide a riot of color. Judges gave this garden high rankings because of the number of AAS Winners used along with the unique props that helped tell an educational story. Then to top it off, Spooner did a fantastic job of spreading the word among their local community via Social Media, radio, newspapers, their own website, e-newsletters and with the University of Wisconsin’s Extension programs.
Cedar Rapids , IA USA
Beautiful, elegant and artistic is how the judges described the AAS display at Noelridge Park Gardens. Highlighting this garden were the many structures and containers handcrafted from native willow branches—all done by their volunteers! Multiple groups collaborated together on this project that not only resulted in a beautiful community garden but also numerous articles by local media, informational sessions by Master Gardeners and ongoing Social Media updates about the garden and events being held at the garden.
This Display Garden used an impressive 60 different AAS Winners, including Gold Medal Winners from past years, in their 24 Idea Gardens. To garner community participation, garden planners invited the public to participate in a Container Design contest where they granted awards in each of these categories: Best Use of AAS Winners, Most Colorful, Most Unusual and Overall Best Plant Display. An Open House held in August showed off the AAS flowers and vegetables at their peak.
Marysville , WA USA
Honorable Mention, “Most Creative” Garden: Jennings Park, WSU Master Gardener Demo Garden, Marysville, Washington. The first word used to describe this garden is “Creative” and thus, a special award to Jennings Park for their outstanding creativity. Garden planners used a number of ideas and items to make this garden come alive with color as well as signage that helped show the beauty and usefulness of AAS Winners.
Bristol, WI USA
Honorable Mention, “Best Inspiration” Garden: Kenosha County Center Demonstration Garden, Bristol, Wisconsin. Judges just couldn’t let this year go by without giving an extra special shout out to this first-year Display Garden in Kenosha for their many inspiring garden ideas. In one small plot, they used a rattan chair frame, a wicker wastebasket, a wire trellis, a palette as a vertical garden and other household items to support their theme of “Inside Out.”
Category II (10,000-100,000 visitors)
Lexington , KY USA
Located next to the University of Kentucky’s All-America Selections trial bed, this display made great use of the 2014 container theme. With multiple large, square containers lining the main walkway, and numerous other containers positioned in strategic spots, thirty four AAS Winners gracefully filled the containers and borders with glorious color. Adding edibles to the garden showed how containers, edibles and flowers can seamlessly work in harmony in a well-designed garden.
Saint-Hyacinthe , QC CANADA
With a theme of urban ag, this AAS Display Garden took advantage of the opportunity to promote urban agriculture to their visitors as well as to the general public with their public relations work. By using nineteen AAS Winners and strategically placed container gardens, the garden transformed rigid linear flower beds into beautiful spaces showing how flowers and edibles can peacefully co-exist in an urban garden.
Category III (over 100,000 visitors)
Janesville , WI USA
Rotary knocked another one out of the ballpark with this year’s “Pollinator’s Paradise” theme using almost 90 AAS Winner varieties and repurposed containers for an overall earth-friendly theme. The contest was promoted in the garden’s blog an amazing 17 times, in addition to radio show talks, press releases, local garden magazine stories and more. Judges raved about the creatively designed short, medium and tall containers and the excellent use of color in three separate ways: drifts in the landscape, in the many containers and as solitary specimen varieties.
Denver , CO USA
Set among the many beautiful areas of the Denver Botanic Garden is the aptly named “AAS Garden” where landscape designers chose AAS Winners in colors to reflect the time of day. The first Sunrise Bed features hot colors that light up as the sun appears. The second Sunrise Bed features vegetables and annuals with a large container as the centerpiece. In the garden area where weddings are held, guests are able to reflect on the Twilight Bed with cool-colored annuals. Lastly is the Sunset Bed where a symphony of colors plays their last hurrah as the sun sets.
Burlington , ON CANADA
Third Place *TIE* Winner: Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington, Ontario. RBG took a formerly flat grassy area and transformed it into an AAS paradise with three large arching beds accented by four creatively designed and placed container gardens. The middle of the AAS Display Garden featured the newest AAS Winners, flanked by two equal sized beds that featured AAS Winners from past years. Artfully positioned in and around these three beds were various containers featuring additional AAS Winners spilling over to make a beautiful floral statement.
Athens , GA USA
Third Place *TIE* Winner: State Botanical Garden of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. The State Botanical Garden took a sensual approach to the garden emphasizing flowing lines and the visual impact it makes when standing on a nearby overlook. AAS Winners were planted in both waves and circles to create a soothing appearance as well as a mix of textures. Judges liked that approach as well as the handouts the garden created for visitors that explain the AAS Mission and trialing process.
Montreal, QC CANADA
Honorable Mention, “Most Artistic” Garden: Norseco at the Botanical Garden of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec. This is the first year that horticulture company Norseco has had their Display Garden in such a high-traffic location such as the Botanical Garden of Montreal. This means a new opportunity to educate a large number of visitors about AAS Winners. They accomplished this with multiple beds artistically designed then named by the dominant colors in that area. Garden designers used some older, taller AAS Winners to provide that visual interest with height.