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And the Georgia Gold Medal winners are… By Stephanie Schupska

Each year, five plants that grow well in Georgia have the chance to win gold. And during this first year of the new decade, the winners are spectacular.

This year’s Georgia Gold Medal winners have all proven their worth and are ready to add beauty to landscapes across the state.

The 2010 winners, by category, are: summer annual – Diamond Frost Euphorbia; herbaceous perennial – Butterfly Weed; evergreen groundcover - Angelina Stonecrop; evergreen shrub - Limelight hydrangea; and deciduous tree - Ogon Dawn Redwood.

Selection process

Each year an elite group of green industry and academic professionals from across Georgia select outstanding ornamental plants in five categories, said University of Georgia Cooperative Extension horticulturist Gary Wade. But only one plant in each category can earn the plant selection committee’s coveted gold medal.

The committee is made up of nurserymen, flower growers, botanists, landscape designers, garden center managers, Master Gardeners and University of Georgia horticulturists. First presented in 1993, the awards promote the production, sale and use of superior landscape plants.

“The nominees are judged on a strict list of criteria including pest tolerance, ease of maintenance, survivability, seasonal interest and availability,” Wade said. “The list of nominees is long and the selection process is tedious, but in the end, all on the committee agree that the plants chosen are deserving of their gold medal designation.”

2010 winners

The 2010 Gold Medal plants are all worthy of their distinguished titles.

  • Diamond Frost Euphorbia is an easy-to-grow annual that blooms non-stop from spring until fall frost.
  • Butterfly Weed is a native herbaceous perennial that attracts butterflies like magnets with its florescent orange blooms.
  • Angelina Stonecrop sedum is a tough-as-nails groundcover with golden yellow foliage and bright orange summer flowers.
  • Limelight hydrangea, the shrub winner, will light up a neighborhood with its large chartreuse panicles on strong upright stems.
  • Last but not least, Ogon Dawn Redwood, the 2010 tree selection, has unique golden foliage that glows in the summer sun and is the perfect choice for pond edges, parks and large public spaces.

To learn more about the Georgia Gold Medal program, visit www.georgiagoldmedalplants.org.

(Stephanie Schupska is a news editor with the University of Georgia Public Affairs Office.)

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