Plants, Bulbs and Seeds

2009 MGA Green Thumb Award Winners

'Cherry Brandy' is a red-flowered Rudbeckia from Thompson & Morgan.

'Cherry Brandy' is a red-flowered Rudbeckia from Thompson & Morgan.

courtesy Thompson & Morgan/Mailorder Gardening Association

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Six new plant varieties and five new gardening products have won 2009 MGA Green Thumb Awards presented by the Mailorder Gardening Association.

Winners of the 2009 MGA Green Thumb Awards were chosen by an independent panel of garden writers and editors. The winning products were selected based on their uniqueness, technological innovation, ability to solve a gardening problem or provide a gardening opportunity, and potential appeal to gardeners.

Since 1998, the MGA Green Thumb Awards have recognized the best new plants and gardening products available each year from gardening catalogs and Web sites. The awards are sponsored by the Mailorder Gardening Association, the world’s largest nonprofit association of companies that sell garden products directly to consumers. For more information visit the MGA website.

Rudbeckia x hirta ‘Cherry Brandy’ from Thompson & Morgan

‘Cherry Brandy’ is the world’s first red-flowered Rudbeckia from seed. ‘Cherry Brandy’ produces robust, bushy plants that will create dramatic impact in the border, in large containers or as a cut flower with its rich 3- to 4-inch cherry-red blooms.

This outstanding garden performer will produce a mass of stems, each enhanced by a single stunning blossom. ‘Cherry Brandy’ will reach 24 inches tall by 12 inches wide. A packet of 50 seeds sells for $3.50 exclusively from Thompson & Morgan, (800) 274-7333.

Begonia x tuberhybrida ‘Scentsation Mixed’ F1 Hybrid from Thompson & Morgan

‘Scentsation Mixed’ is the world’s first scented begonia from seed. A sowing of seed from January to March in warm, bright conditions will produce loads of exquisite double to semi-double pastel blooms from summer to the first frosts of autumn.

The long blooming season allows gardeners plenty of time to enjoy the delicious medley of fragrances that range from fresh citrus-lemon to indulgent soft rose. Plants reach 20 inches tall and 11 to 15 inches wide. A packet of 50 seeds sells for $4.50 exclusively from Thompson & Morgan.

Bonbini Lily from Dutch Gardens

Bonbini is the first Oriental Trumpet lily to have a candle flame in the center of the flower. Bonbini Lily produces large soft yellow fragrant flowers in mid-summer that measure up to 8 inches across. The center of each petal contains a red candle flame that is a deeper golden yellow color in the center.

This outstanding garden performer reaches 4 feet in height and grows stronger and more productive each year. Bonbini is cold hardy in USDA zones 4-9. Bulbs are 3 for $12.95 or 6 for $24.96 from Dutch Gardens, (800) 944-2250.

Angel’s Trumpet ‘Angel’s Dream’ PPAF from Logee’s Tropical Plants

Brugmansia ‘Angel’s Dream’ is a new hybrid that blooms at only 12 inches tall. This compact dwarf variety created by horticulturist Byron Martin boasts blooms that are fragrant, prolific and year-round. Orange-yellow flowers show a hint of deep orange at maturity. The lateral branching habit makes ‘Angel’s Dream’ perfect for containers or hanging baskets.

One plant in a 4-inch pot sells for $29.95 exclusively from Logee’s Tropical Plants, (888) 330-8038.

Honey Bear Winter Squash from Johnny’s Selected Seeds

Honey Bear is a single-serving sized acorn squash (less than one pound) that is perfect for today’s on-the-go families. Its sweet, unsurpassed taste will be welcome at any dinner table, and it will even have kids eating their vegetables. The compact bush plant takes up no more room in the garden than a zucchini plant, and it has a high level of resistance to powdery mildew.

This innovative new winter squash was bred by Dr. Brent Loy at the University of New Hampshire. A packet of seeds sells for $2.95 exclusively from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, (877) 564-6697.

Organic Prairie Blush Potato from Wood Prairie Farm

Prairie Blush is a new early mid-season golden-fleshed potato variety with exceptional flavor and texture. Prairie Blush is a “one in a million” chance discovery of a clonal variant found in a single hill of Yukon Gold potatoes on Maine’s organic Wood Prairie Farm in 2001. Seven years of field growing under certified organic conditions have revealed that Prairie Blush plants are robust, vigorous, upbright and fast growing. The plants sport light purple blossoms and the potatoes are bright, smooth and delicious.

A 2.5 pound bag of certified organic seed potatoes sells for $11.95 exclusively from Wood Prairie Farm, (800) 829-9765.