Master Gardener Association of Tippecanoe County (MGATC) Display Gardens, Lafayette, Indiana

Nov 6, 2019
All-America Selections Announces Display Garden Landscape Design Challenge Winners

All-America Selections’ 2019 Landscape Design Challenge used the theme of “Re-Use, Recycle, Re-Imagine” to inspire this year’s creations. Each garden was free to interpret the theme in their chosen manner, resulting in some very fun, creative and interesting displays.

For this challenge, AAS provided the gardens with recent AAS Winner seed and plants. The gardens also had the option to incorporate older AAS Winners in their design to illustrate the “Re-Imagine” theme. Gardens not only had to create and execute a design based on this year’s theme, but also, were encouraged to generate publicity and hold events to share the story of All-America Selections and AAS Winners.

Gardens were divided into three categories based on the number of visitors per year:

  • Category I: fewer than 10,000 visitors per year
  • Category II: 10,001 – 100,000 visitors per year
  • Category III: Over 100,000 visitors per year

The contest judges, who are industry experts in the field of horticulture and landscaping, were:

  • Jeff Gibson, landscape business manager, Ball Horticultural Company
  • Sean James, owner, Sean James Consulting and Design
  • Barbara Wise, sales and marketing manager, Crescent Garden

The winners are as follows:

Category I: Fewer than 10,000 Visitors per Year

First Place Winner: Master Gardener Association of Tippecanoe County (MGATC) Display Gardens, Lafayette, Indiana

The MGA of Tippecanoe Country was lauded as having the most all-encompassing use of the 2019 theme “Re-Use, Recycle, Re-Imagine” in this year’s competition. They used multiple items that might have gone to the landfill had they not been used in the garden as props and holders for AAS Winners. Even volunteer plants from their 2018 garden were incorporated into their theme!

Clear signage not only explained the theme, but also described how items were being re-used. The garden also explained and demonstrated to visitors how they could save money in their own gardens by reusing and recycling things such as plastic milk jugs, nesting boxes and old satellite dishes. The harvest from the AAS Edible Winners was donated to the local Salvation Army to feed the less fortunate.

Second Place Winner: Kenosha County Center AAS Display & Demonstration Garden, Kenosha, Wisconsin

The judges thought the way Kenosha County Center integrated this year’s theme into their garden was very imaginative and clever. Their write-up explained the emphasis on education while creating a lovely garden design.

With community and visitor outreach comprising 20% of the score, Kenosha scored high points for their use of social media and their own Master Gardener newsletter. Lastly, a scavenger hunt created visitor involvement and really got people to look at, through and into the garden beds.

Third Place Winner: Morris Horticulture Display Garden, Morris, Minnesota

An excellent example of Reimagination, Morris Horticulture transformed a 1950s farmstead into a 2019 AAS Display Garden. Their well-maintained garden showed off the beauty of AAS Edible Winners planted in and around farming hardscape features such as a windmill and corn planter.

“Reimagining” marigolds in an area where corn might have been planted provided a clever focal point. A part of the university’s Horticulture Display Garden, visitors in the thousands were able to enjoy this garden.

Category II: 10,001 – 100,000 visitors per year

First Place Winner: Purdue Extension Marion County Demonstration Garden, Indianapolis, Indiana

For the third year in a row, the Purdue Extension group has knocked it out of the park. The drone video they created shows the superior plant quality and their impeccably maintained grounds. This demonstration garden is located at the Indiana Fair Grounds, so visitors not only saw a beautiful garden, but also were able to learn from the Master Gardeners.

Purdue Extension experts conducted several outreach programs for the community regarding the AAS varieties (old and new) and how to reduce, reuse, recycle and reimagine in their own gardens. To further engage visitors, they created a spinner wheel game showcasing their twelve most appealing AAS Winners. To play the game, one had to spin the wheel then go locate that variety in the garden.

Second Place Winner: Jardin Daniel A Seguin, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Canada

The Daniel A. Seguin garden got really creative with this year’s theme with a huge crowd-stopping spider welded out of recycled and re-used pieces of metal. Kudos to welding artist Jeffrey McDonal for this piece of work! This spider “stood guard” over a lovely and well-maintained bed of AAS Winners that were used in great color combinations.

Students from the nearby Institut de Technologie Agroalimentaire were in charge of designing and creating the garden, which was located in the Jardin de future (Garden of the Future), a garden designed to inspire thought and creativity.

TIE! Third Place Winner: Domaine Joly, Sainte-Crois, Quebec, Canada

Judges agreed that the design and interpretation of this year’s theme at Domaine Joly was lovely, artistic and creative. Placing the AAS Winners in a fairly high-profile section of the property added to the appeal. A large number of products were reused as interesting planters including a canoe, old toolbox, plastic chairs and a speaker case.

TIE! Third Place Winner: McCrory Gardens, Brookings, South Dakota

McCrory is a first-time entrant into the Landscape Design Challenge and was applauded for their great plant quality and use of the AAS signage. They showcased the AAS Winners in a bright and cheery garden set among both the English cottage and formal style gardens.

The fountain centerpiece cleverly planted with Canna South Pacific Orange capped the appeal of this garden.

Category III: Over 100,000 visitors per year

First Place Winner: Boerner Botanical Gardens, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Kudos to the group at Boerner for pulling off a first place win this year! Their theme interpretation was called an “Alice in Wonderland” garden where many recycled and re-used products were made into props from the book: Hanging baskets became tea cups, AAS Gypsophila Winners formed a clock base, mushroom forms planted with AAS Pole Bean Winners, and old pallets became larger than life playing cards.

The garden took the opportunity to educate visitors about AAS via tours, an Ecology Conference and several onsite talks.

Second Place Winner: Norseco at Montreal Botanical Garden, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The Norseco display at Montreal Botanical Garden was designed to create an area that put the AAS Winners up front in a design full of texture, blossom types and colors. Curious children were eager to taste the many vegetables grown in the garden.

To incorporate the “Re-Use, Recycle, Re-Imagine” theme, they used pieces such as recycled fencing for a trellis, pallets made into a tool display and old water hoses for supports. The use of AAS explanation signage was very well done!

Third Place Winner: State Botanical Garden, Athens, Georgia

A first-time participant, the State Botanical Garden did a great job jumping in and interpreting the theme in ways very suited for their garden. They used plastic pots, laid on end, to mimic Spanish terra cotta roof tiles and a milk jug as a conduit for rainwater runoff to irrigate hanging baskets. These efforts resulted in a very clever way of using recycled products in ways that benefited the garden plantings.

Each of these contest winners are profiled on the AAS website, under “Display Gardens”

A complete collection of photos from all contest entrants can be found on the All-America Selections Flickr and Facebook accounts.

For more information about the contest winners or how to participate in 2020, contact Diane Blazek, All-America Selections.





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