Since All-Americans are selected for all the sports and almost anything else one can think of, why not All-American plants?

That's why the All-American Selection Committee, representing seed companies from throughout the nation, has introduced the 1991 All-American Selection Winners. Laurie Scullen from Pan American Seed Co. shared some ideas on these new varieties while she was in town last week.Potential winners are grown by experienced horticulturist under a wide variety of conditions. Each new variety submitted for AAS consideration is grown with similar varieties currently on the market. They are then evaluated throughout the growing season by independent judges. Those that exhibit truly improved or unique qualities are honored as All-American Selections. For 1991, 10 new varieties have been selected. They are as follows:

- Gaillardia Pulchella "Red Plume" is a distinct annual gaillardia. Most gardeners are familiar with the perennial gaillardia or blanket flower. This new variety is unique because it has a single, uniform blossom that adapts to any garden color scheme. The plants are compact, branch well and do not need support. "Red Plume" is well adapted to heat and drought conditions. It flowers continuously even under severe summer weather conditions without pinching, shearing or other time-consuming work. It is sure to be a good performer under our conditions.

- Geranium F1 "Freckles" describes this unique geranium. It has large flowers with a pink bi-color bloom. The plants are compact and grow 12 to 15 inches high. It is suited to planter boxes and other areas in the garden requiring a medium-sized plant. Unfortunately, there was a crop failure on the plant and seed is in short supply.

- The Pansy "Padparadja" is named after the rare and valuable orange sapphire found in Sri Lanka. The pansy has a distinct, bright pumpkin orange color. The 2-inch blossoms are an improvement on other orange pansies and retain their color under hot, stressful summer conditions. Mature plants are about 6 inches tall and 8 inches wide.

- Vinca "Pretty in Rose" is another plant that is sure to do well in Utah's hot, dry conditions. It has a deep rose color with velvety blooms and rich, glossy green foliage. Vinca "Parasol" is another vinca that produces large 1 1/2- to 2-inch blooms. They are drought-tolerant and require little care. Vinca "Pretty in Pink" is the third vinca to be chosen for honors this year. Like the other two vincas, it will provide both heat and drought resistant tolerance. It has attractive pastel pink flowers. All vincas are a good choice for annual ground covers in hot, dry areas.

- Pansy F1 "Maxim Marina" is another pansy selection this year. It performed well during past summers despite record-breaking heat and drought conditions in many of the test gardens. The flowers have an unusual combination of light blue petals and velvety blue faces outlined in white. It is sure to find a place in many gardens this year.

In addition to the flowers, three vegetables have been selected because of outstanding new characteristics.

- Squash F1 "Tivoli" is an improved vegetable spaghetti squash. It has a compact bush-type growth habit. Plants can be spaced as close as 2 feet apart, making them a good choice in small gardens. The oblong squash weigh from 3-5 pounds and can be prepared using any recipe suitable for spaghetti squash.

- Watermelon F1 "Golden Crown" is sure to please gardeners who never learned how to thump watermelons to determine if they are ripe. "Golden Crown" melons develop a rich golden rind color when mature. This makes it easy to locate the fruits among the vines and easy to tell when they are ripe. They mature in about 80 days from seed. They are also tolerant to powdery mildew. Mature melons will be about 6-8 pounds. Unlike other "yellow" watermelons, "Golden Crown" has a red flesh with a yellow skin.

- "Kentucky Blue," a new pole bean, was bred by the creator of the famous Sugar Snap Pea. "Kentucky Blue" has a combination of qualities from Kentucky Wonder and Blue Lake. The healthy, vigorous vines produce round straight pods of very high quality. Pods should be harvested when 6-7 inches in length.

All of these as well as many previous All-American Selections should be available in local nurseries and seed catalogs in spring. Make notes of those that interest you and use them in your 1991 garden.