In celebration of All-America Selections' 80th Anniversary in 2012, AAS introduced a brand new contest for the AAS Display Gardens, called the Landscape Design Contest. The intent was to provide an opportunity for the Display Gardens to use their creativity and garden space to feature AAS Winners in a pleasing and eye-catching manner. Gardens were encouraged to use as many AAS Winners as possible, both past and present. Another key element was to garner publicity for this contest in their local media.
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 2013 winners in each category, based on number of garden visitors per year.
Category I (0-10,000 visitors)
Baton Rouge, LA USA
First Place Winner: LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. One of our judges aptly described the design as an appetizer table that allows the visitor to enjoy the thirty-nine varieties of AAS Winners in small bites. LSU topped their performance from 2012 when they were the second place winner in this category. One of the major changes since last year was incorporating the Children’s Garden with the AAS Display garden for greater cohesiveness between the two sites, combining hands-on learning with a display. Garden Fest was the largest promotional event at Burden and brought in over 1,000 people in a single morning to see the diamond shaped landscape beds.
Spooner , WI USA
Second Place Winner: University of Wisconsin Spooner Ag Research Station, Teaching and Display Garden, Spooner, Wisconsin. For this contest, the Master Gardener Volunteers at the Spooner Ag Research station transformed the space into eight individual, slightly bermed, triangular beds to replace the traditional mass plantings that had the AAS Winners in one long row. Well-maintained lawn paths between the beds added to the beauty and function. Each bed included approximately 75% AAS Winners, combined with other flowers and vegetables to carry out a theme in each garden, ranging from “sunset colors” to “drama”. The annual Twilight Tour was held in August to educate the public on the entire Demonstration Garden and was a key factor in the judge’s decision to award second place to this entry.
Meredith , NH USA
Third Place Winner: Meredith Public Library Garden, Meredith, New Hampshire. This entry shared an interesting story of a community that stood up to its leadership who wanted to remove a garden and put a less-expensive and lower-maintenance lawn in its place. Community support overrode that decision and the Meredith Public Library Garden was saved, thanks to the non-profit community organization, Greater Meredith Program, and the Friends of the Meredith Library, that take care of the design, planting and maintenance. This design transformed a boring lawn into a striking floral display making good use of a slope, a sidewalk and the AAS signage.
Urbandale, IA USA
Honorable Mention, Most Educational Garden: ISU Polk County Master Gardener’s Demonstration Garden, Urbandale, Iowa. Our judges were very taken with this garden’s creative use of repurposed items such as frames and plates that were used as plant markers. The entire garden’s theme was designed to demonstrate how to Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Even the plants were designed in the shape of the easily recognized recycling symbol of three clockwise arrows. The garden hosted multiple events for the public where they were able to view the various AAS Winners and learn about sustainability while right in the garden.
Category II (10,000-100,000 visitors)
Ottawa , ON CANADA
First Place Winner: Agriculture Canada Ornamental Gardens, Ottawa, Ontario. This garden won second place in 2012 and bettered themselves this year with a “Disc and That” theme. Disc (aka “This”) is a play on words alluding to the Asteraceae family of flowers which includes AAS Winners such as the Echinacea and gaillardia. The “That” consists of various other AAS winners such as Ornamental Millet ’Purple Majesty’ and ‘Foxy’ Foxglove. There were a total of 1295 plants in the bed of which 1053 are AAS winners. 15 varieties make up the “disc” collection while 18 varieties are in the “that” portion.
Lexington , KY USA
Second Place Winner: The Arboretum State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky. Judges praised the excellent use of signage in this garden in addition to the extreme tidiness of the display. With gardens bordering each side of a high-traffic walkway, the designers implemented a good mix varying plant heights in the design. The overall “spoke” design of the Home Demonstration Garden and accompanying brochure were very helpful in explaining the garden and All-America Selections to their visitors.
Saint-Hyacinthe , QC CANADA
Third Place Winner: Jardin Daniel A Séguin, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec. At this garden, the 21 varieties of AAS Winners were beautifully planted in circular beds around a fountain focal point. Student groups were responsible for maintaining the garden and promoting the display garden and AAS Winners to the general public as well as to the garden’s visitors.
Category III (over 100,000 visitors)
Janesville , WI USA
First Place Winner: Rotary Botanical Gardens, Janesville, Wisconsin. Rotary is another repeat winner by placing first in Category III in 2012 and again in 2013. Rotary continues to impress with a very creative design in a brand new garden space by skillfully combining AAS Winning plants with unique props. An impressive 150 AAS Winners were featured in their display, using 48 plants of each variety for a grand total of 7,200 plants in 2,600 square feet of garden. For educational purposes, Rotary created custom signs explaining the history of AAS then arranged the planting beds in chronological order from the 1930’s to present. There was also a “teaser” satellite garden that urged garden visitors to find the larger AAS Display Garden to get the full story. Judges also commended Rotary on their use of Social media, blogs, e-newsletter and local media outreach.
Denver , CO USA
Second Place Winner: Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, Colorado. The location of the All-America Selection Display Garden was directly in the center of the Denver Botanic Gardens, near water gardens and sculptures, surrounding a tent that is the center of their programs and events. The design elements incorporated a fun interactive space for children’s programs as well as features to attract attention during high-profile fundraisers. The AAS garden is 90% AAS Winners. Publicity generated, garden location and the great use of signage were the top three reasons why Denver Botanic Gardens won for this year.
Third Place Winner: Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, Kentucky. Contest judges were impressed by the Exposition Center’s determination to work with what they had (large concrete containers) and make something beautiful in a unique setting (outside a very high-traffic Exposition Center with over 5 million visitors per year) for their AAS Display Garden. Garden managers effectively used the AAS Winners in an attractive and eye-catching display with some containers being mono-culture while other containers made good use of mixed varieties in attractive designs with the variety names and the AAS Winner designations clearly marked.