University of Georgia
The awards began in 1994, when the Georgia Plant Selection Committee introduced and promoted Georgia Gold Medal selections, with a winner for each of four categories: annual, herbaceous perennial, shrub and tree.
The committee, about 30 people from the green industry and the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, announced four new winners each year after that until 2003, when they added an ornamental vine category.
The Georgia Gold Medal awards are aimed at getting deserving but underused plants into Georgia landscapes. The goal is to break through a tough supply-and-demand barrier. If a plant's not popular, the demand is low, so growers don't supply many, so prices stay high, so demand stays low.
The Amazon dianthus series were the result of crossing Sweet William with Chinese pinks. These cool-season annuals make good companion plants for pansies, parsley, ornamental cabbage and ornamental kale and are excellent for cut floral arrangements.
Its heavenly scent blankets the mid-winter landscape, quickly drawing you to the source: Clusters of creamy yellow flowers cascade downward from dark brown stems. Paperbush has a somewhat tropical appearance and coarse-textured summer foliage and is a plant for all seasons.
In its native habitat, the American hornbeam tree is most often found along rivers and streams in the rich, moist soils of the floodplains, but it also adapts to dry upland sites. In the wild, it grows in the dense shade of taller trees, but it can adapt to full-sun spots. These characteristics make it a very versatile tree for a wide variety of landscape situations.
Pride of Augusta Carolina Jessamine has bright yellow tubular flowers and is a twining evergreen vine, requiring sun or partial shade. Although the spring bloom is the most dramatic, additional blossoms are produced sporadically throughout the growing season. It grows to a manageable 10 to 20 feet and is not invasive. Once established, is it low-maintenance, pest-free and deer resistant.
Cranesbill geraniums are among the hottest plants in the landscape industry, with gardeners and landscapers throughout the Southeast singing the praises of this exciting new plant. From late May until frost, the plant produces an abundance of blue-violet flowers with pale centers. Its attractive, deeply lobed foliage turns brownish red in the fall.