All-America Selections, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1932 and continues as the oldest independent plant testing organization in North America. Every year, new, never-before-sold varieties are trialed in our Trial Grounds and professional horticulturists (our judges) determine which varieties will be deemed winners based on their superior garden performance. AAS relies upon a public relations program and our Display Gardens to inform home gardeners about AAS Winners that are announced three times each year.
We look for gardens who are interested in forming a partnership with All-America Selections. This includes:
Once a garden determines they would like to be involved, they must decide whether they will grow AAS flowers and edibles, AAS flowers only, or AAS edibles only.
Ideally, the AAS Winners are planted in a highly visible, high-traffic location(s) as possible. A locally publicized event during the growing season adds to the attractiveness of a garden.
The Display Garden is not required to evaluate and report the performance of AAS Winners.
Please note: gardens must be open to the public. Home gardens are not open to the public.
Each year we supply our Display Gardens with 5 years worth of complimentary AAS Winner seed (current year plus previous four years). Each seed packet contains approximately 25 seed. While there is no set space requirement, we ask that our gardens plant as many of the varieties they receive as possible.
The Winners do not all have to be located in one bed or display. They can be separated in multiple garden beds or areas including container displays, children’s gardens, edible gardens, etc. This is why we encourage the use of variety markers. (see next paragraph.)
An AAS Display Garden weatherproof sign is sent to each garden to clearly identify a newly approved garden as an official All-America Selections® Display Garden. We ask that the sign is placed in the bed where the majority of the AAS Winners are on display. If your garden requires consistent brand signage and chooses to create their own, we do ask that you use our color logo whenever possible. Variety markers (one per variety) accompany the seed of all AAS Winners. Although you may choose not to use AAS variety markers, we do require each All-America Selections® Winner be clearly identified by a label that includes the variety name and designation as an AAS Winner and our color logo if possible.
All-America Selections® provides the seed, Display Garden sign and variety markers at no cost to the Display Garden. We do not compensate any Display Gardens for plantings. It is assumed most Display Gardens have landscape programs and that the AAS Winners can be incorporated into the landscape design.
All-America Selections® features all Display Gardens on our website that is regularly promoted to thousands of garden communicators and consumers. The AAS website details the purpose of All-America Selections® and the valuable service contributed by AAS Display Gardens. Our website is visited by over 1 million visitors per year and we offer a link to all Display Gardens’ websites. We encourage your gardens to link back to the AAS website as well.
It is assumed that Display Gardens will make every effort to attract and welcome visitors during the peak season. Since we publish the names and addresses of AAS Display Gardens on the AAS website, home gardeners, garden writers, instructors and retail nursery operators will wish to see the plantings. Established Display Gardens have found that a publicized “open house” or “garden day” event greatly increases the number of garden visitors. Because AAS actively promotes your garden as an AAS Display Garden, the variety markers are a vital tool in helping garden visitors locate the AAS Winners in your garden.
The AAS Board of Directors’ policy is that entities granted Display Garden status are expected to grow and maintain their gardens in an orderly, visually-appealing fashion. These gardens may be visited by AAS Officers, Directors, and Judges during the course of the growing season. Those AAS Ambasadors are asked to make a report to the Executive Director. If at any time we feel the garden is not living up to our standards, a conversation with that garden will take place to plan improved participation in our program.
In order to maintain the AAS Display Garden status, each garden contact must participate in our yearly verification process. This is conducted in the summer months so we know exactly which gardens will grow the AAS Winners the following year. It is a simple electronic form that our office sends each summer. As part of that verification process, we ask for a photograph showing one or more of your AAS Winners with a variety marker. It is expected that a Display Garden will immediately notify AAS of changes to their contact information.
We have more than 80 AAS Trial Judges located at almost as many different trial sites across North America. These judges volunteer their time to trial and rate all entries against comparison varieties. Only the best garden performers are named AAS Winners. Most of these judging sites are not open to the public as the trials contain experimental varieties that are not yet commercially available.
Conversely, our Display Gardens are the beautiful side of our program displaying the results of the AAS Trials. Display Gardens can be any type of public garden that creates beautiful and educational displays of annuals, perennials and edibles. Display Gardens do not need to evaluate the AAS Winners as these varieties have already been judged and granted the awards.