produce large numbers of flowers, and consistent flower production is an improved quality. Earliness to bloom is another exceptional trait – from sowing seed to first bloom requires only six to nine weeks. Mature plants will reach about 15 inches to 17 inches tall and spread about 15 inches to 19 inches, depending upon growing conditions. Like all zinnias, 'Magellan Coral' will perform best in a full-sun location with good drainage. This AAS Winner is adaptable to container culture as well as garden beds.
This year’s AAS vegetable winners are ‘Fairy Tale’ eggplant, ‘Sugary’ tomato and ‘Bonbon’ winter squash.
Eggplant (Solanum melongena) 'Fairy Tale' is a more petite cultivar with decorative miniature eggplants. The fruit appearance is as luscious as the taste. 'Fairy Tale' eggplants are white with violet/purple stripes. The fruit are sweet, non-bitter, with a tender skin and few seeds. Another superior quality is the window for harvest. The elongated oval eggplants can be picked when quite small – at 1 ounce to 2 ounces – or they can be left on the plant until double the weight, and the flavor and tenderness remain. 'Fairy Tale' eggplants are recommended for marinating and grilling whole. The harvest can begin in just 49 days to 51 days from transplanting. This small-growing cultivar reaches only 2˝ feet tall and wide, so it’s perfect for container gardening. An eggplant has not won an AAS award since 1939, so 'Fairy Tale' truly is an exceptional new cultivar.
With tomato (Lycopersicum escluentum) 'Sugary,’ the name says it all. Judges raved about the sweet tomato flavor. The half-ounce dark pink fruit has a sugar content of 9.5 percent – higher than most others. The fruit is produced in clusters like grapes and can be eaten like them. 'Sugary' tomatoes have a distinct shape. They are oval with a pointed blossom end. In addition to the flavor, 'Sugary' plants produced a high yield with a noticeable lack of cracked fruit. Look for ripe fruit on the strong semi-indeterminate vines within 60 days from transplanting into well-prepared garden beds or large containers. Plants are vigorous and should be pruned if trained to a stake, or they may be left unpruned and grown in a cage. 'Sugary' should set a new standard for cherry tomatoes with sweet flavor.
Winter squash (Cucurbita maxima) 'Bonbon' has three improved traits. They are a more compact habit, earliness and superior eating qualities. 'Bonbon' has an upright, semi-bush habit, which means it needs less garden space. Mature vines spread about 8 feet. Look for ripe fruit within 81 days after transplanting Bonbon plants into the garden. This is a full week earlier than other cultivars. 'Bonbon' squash have thick orange flesh. When cooked, they deliver sweet flavor (hence the name 'Bonbon') and creamy texture loaded with vitamin A. The A boxy@ dark green squash has silver stripes and weighs about 4 pounds. Easy to grow, 'Bonbon' is not highly susceptible to diseases and should do very well in Louisiana home gardens.