For a dozen years now, the Georgia Plant Selections Committee,Inc., has been recommending each year a new, short list ofbeautiful, proven landscape plants.The committee is made up of nurserymen, flower growers,landscapers, landscape designers, garden center managers andUniversity of Georgia horticulturists.It was organized in 1994 to break up a vicious cycle in whichdeserving plants remained relatively unknown because no nurseriespropagated them, because no customers asked for them, becausethey were relatively unknown. …Each year the committee selects an annual, perennial, shrub andtree and sometimes a flowering vine from a long list of nomineesand awards them Georgia Gold Medals. They announce the winnersfirst to growers so they can have them available when the publicpromotions begin.The committee decides the winners based on seasonal interest,outstanding or unusual qualities, ease of propagation, hardiness,adaptability, durability, pest tolerance and lack of invasiveness.The winnersThe 2005 Georgia Gold Medal Winners are:Dragon Wing isn’t a typicalbegonia when it comes to heattolerance. It’s more like a begonia on steroids. This sensationalsummer annual produces nonstop red or pink flowers from springuntil fall frost. It adapts well to hanging baskets, largecontainers and landscape beds.Georgia Blue veronica is aherbaceous perennial that grows like aground cover, 4 to 6 inches and 2 feet wide. It’s not a nativebut hails from the Republic of Georgia (formerly part of theSoviet Union). But it’s hardy in zones 5 to 8 and bearsbeautiful, sky-blue flowers from February to April.Rose Creek and Canyon Creek abelias are seedlingselections ofChinese abelia. The former was selected for its low, moundingform (2 to 3 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide), crimson stems,fragrant white flowers and May-to-frost blooming. Canyon Creek isbigger (4 to 6 feet tall and wide), a terrific hedging plant. Itsleaves emerge coppery pink and mellows to a soft yellow, thengreen and finally rosy bronze in winter.Glowing Embers isn’t just anotherJapanese maple. It’s a stunningtree with vigorous growth rate and brilliant fall color. And itadapts to a range of landscape conditions, thriving in full sunand tolerating drought better than most trees in its class. It’snamed for the kaleidoscope of color its fall leaves provide asthey fade from green to purple, flourescent orange or yellow.Creeping raspberry is a hardy,extraordinary ground cover. Itthrives in difficult sites like hot, dry, erodible slopes orditches where soil moisture goes from soggy to arid. Afast-growing evergreen from Taiwan, it grows 3 to 6 inches highand spreads 3 to 6 feet in all directions.To learn more about on the Georgia Gold Medal Winners program,visit the Web at www.georgiagoldmedal.com. The site shows theplants the GPSC has chosen since 1994.(Dan Rahn is a news editor with the University of GeorgiaCollege of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.) Volume XXXNumber 1Page 13 By Dan RahnUniversity of GeorgiaAnyone looking for new landscape plants should definitely checkout the Georgia Gold Medal winners.