Two flowers and one vegetable were 1981 All-America Selections: Blitz, a dwarf, orange-scarlet hybrid impatiens; Apricot Brandy, a dwarf celosia plumosa; and Gypsy, a sweet yellow hybrid pepper. Seeds of these winners are listed in almost all of the home garden catalogues for this year.
Blitz is the first impatiens to win an All-America medal. Plants of Blitz are compact, averaging 10 to 12 inches in height at maturity and 12 to 16 inches in spread -- slightly more in humid, long season areas. The vivid 2- to 2 1/4-inch blossoms shining against the lustrous bronze-green foliage put on quite a show, and they stand up well against sun fading and rainfall. The plant will tolerate full sun except in areas where intense sunlight tends to fade or scorch summer flowers, and if it gets too big it will bloom again after shearing.
Apricot Brandy, the new celosia, is a soft apricot-orange, reaches 14 to 18 inches in height and spread at maturity. The feathery plumes can be used fresh or dried for arrangements. Celosia seeds need extra warmth to sprout quickly, and it's recommended that you plant them in a small area that can be covered with a clear plastic hood to trap solar heat. As soon as the seeds begin sprouting, raise one edge of the hood to prevent overheating.
Gypsy hybrid yellow sweet peppers cangive you early crops while adding color and flavor variety to salads and dips. Widely adapted, it will bear heavily in cool as well as hot areas. Fruits average three to four inches in length. Let a few ripen on the plants to turn orange-red and gain extra sweetness. Plants are 1i to 20 inches in height with a 14- to 18-inch spread. Frozen peppers retain good flavor and texture for cooked dishes.
Free catalogues can be obtained by writing and asking for them.