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All-America Selections celebrates 85th anniversary

All-America Selections has had a busy and productive year. In addition to launching a new website last fall and continuing to introduce new AAS Winners, there are several special events and announcements of note.

Diane Blazek at the Cultivate'16 in Columbus Ohio .

85th anniversary
When the idea for All-America Selections was conceived in the early 1930’s, there were only a few flower or vegetable testing locations around the country. If a person or company wanted to introduce a new variety, the plants were usually tested in just one geographic area. There was no national, independent testing program nor a uniform standard for evaluation of new varieties.

Founder W. Ray Hastings proposed a national network of trial gardens where new, unsold flower and vegetable varieties could be tested in various climates by impartial, volunteer horticultural experts. He presented his proposal to the Southern Seedsman’s Association, his idea took root, and All-America Selections was established. Mr. Hastings guided AAS, serving as Executive Secretary, from 1932 to 1971.

Celebrating its 85th year, All-America Selections remains true to the original mission – to test and introduce new varieties that have proven their garden performance. With more than 85 years and almost that many trial grounds, AAS continues as the oldest, most established, international organization testing ornamentals, edibles and herbaceous perennials in North America. In fact, Europe’s Fleuroselect and Japan Flower Selections duplicated the successful AAS model for their respective regions.

AAS welcomes Cultivate’17 attendees stop by Cultivate booth #1313 to help celebrate the 85th anniversary.

Office move and open house
After more than 30 years in one office space, it was high time to celebrate an 85th anniversary and move into a more modern, updated building.

The new address is:
5201 Walnut Ave, Suite 3, Downers Grove, IL 60515
Same phone number: 630-963-0770

For anyone in Chicagoland the end of July, All-America Selections and National Garden Bureau will be hosting an Open House on July 27 from 2-5 PM. Please RSVP by emailing Diane Blazek.

2017 Annual Report
All-America Selections has just released the 2016-2017 Annual Report reflecting the group’s activities over the past 12-18 months.

This Annual Report can be downloaded from the AAS website here. This report is designed to bring new awareness about the organization’s activities and progress. A few key points in this year’s report are:
  • Recognition of AAS’ 85th Anniversary
  • New and unique marketing projects for all AAS Winners
  • Featuring the newest 2017 AAS Winners
All questions and/or comments can be directed to AAS Executive Director Diane Blazek.

Three new directors
In 2017, AAS has welcomed three new Directors to the board. They are:
  • Chelsey Lenczyk, Bejo Seeds
  • Vaughn Fletcher, Fletcher Consulting
  • Jessie Liebenguth, Reiman Gardens
They join the board to serve with:
  • Connie Dam-Byl, President, Dam Seeds
  • Angus Mellish, Past-President, Vesey Seeds
  • Jenny Kuhn, Vice-Presdient, C. Raker & Sons
  • Patty Buskirk, Treasurer, Seeds By Design/Terra Organica
  • Mark Gross, PanAmerican Seed
  • Jenny Wegley, Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens
  • Justin Hancock, Costa Farms

For more information:
All-America Selections
Diane Blazek

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