All American Pickers

The All-America Selections display garden is looking for a small donation to help offset the cost of hotdogs and complimentary food for our Open-house on July 15th at 6:00 pm. The display is located at 12th & R Street near Rocky Pond.

Master Gardeners introduce new crop of old favorites to local growers

By Deb Hadachek
Belleville Telescope editor

Looking for a drought-resistant daisy or a bountiful bean?

Annette Bredthauer and Terry Marcotte may have an answer.

The husband and wife Master Gardeners teamed up this year to plant an All America Selections Display Garden in the Belleville Community Garden just west of Rocky Pond on 12th ST.

They hope the public will walk in and admire the plants, take note of new varieties particularly geared for this region–and maybe snap a photo or two for their social media accounts. The garden contains 34 vegetables
and 24 flowers varieties. The couple will host an outreach Sunday evening, July 15 at the garden plot to talk about each selection and the AAS program.

For several years Bredthauer operated a flower and vegetable test plot for Kansas State University Extension and Research.

“When that program went away, I began looking for another way to engage Master Gardeners,” says Bredthauer. The Master Gardener program, offered through the River Valley Extension District, provides intensive horticultural training to individuals who then volunteer as Master Gardeners in their communities by giving lectures, creating gardens, conducting research, and other projects.

Research led her to the All-American Selections program, a national independent non-profit organization based in Illinois. The program tests new varieties of flowers and vegetables. The award
winners are then planted for display in gardens like the RVED Master Gardener plot in Belleville.

“They’ve been tested and proven to work,” says Marcotte. “All are adaptable for this area.” The varieties planted in the garden were new in 2014-2018. The All-America Selections Display garden showcases national and regional flower and vegetable varieties that have been tested for garden performance by a panel of expert judges. The AAS Winners tagline is “Tested Nationally and Proven Locally”

This AAS Display Garden is sponsored by the River Valley Extension District Master Gardeners. There are four other Display Gardens located in Kansas: Colby, Manhattan, Wichita, and Kansas City, KS.

Lending a hand with the project were Republic County High School agriscience and plant science students under the direction of David Graham and Jed Strnad, who started seeds for the display in the greenhouse completed at the high school last year.

They say the new varieties of common plants like daisies and zucchini and vincas and tomatoes are drought tolerant and have required little water after they were mulched, even in this spring’s drought.

The couple encourages other gardeners to look for AAS recommendations when they search for new varieties of plants.

“It’s comparable to when you look for a new recipe on the internet, and you look for five-star reviews,” Bredthauer says. “The AAS is the equivalent of that in the plant world.”

Marcotte created “teacups” out of old ATV tires to promote the AAS theme of “Get Social in the Garden”. They want the public to feel free to come walk around the plants, take photos, and post them to social media to promote gardening and the AAS.

Follow updates on the display on Facebook at All America Selections Display Garden- RVED Master Gardeners