No variable specified
LEAF TIPS: Georgia Gold Medal Plant Winners
by Rolando Orellana
September 18, 2013 12:54 PM | 7781 views | 0 0 comments | 77 77 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rolando Orellana
Rolando Orellana
I’m a new gardener with not much time or experience in growing in our area. Are there any sure bets for what to plant in my North Fulton landscape this fall?

You’re in luck! The Georgia Gold Medal Plant Program represents combined research from the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, and the Georgia Plant Nursery Industry. This joint venture identifies up to five plants each year that are recommended as superior plants to include in your local Georgia landscape.

The winners are chosen from the following categories: annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, vines/groundcovers and natives.

The following winners for 2013 are suitable to plant in your North Fulton landscape this fall. They’re as close to ‘guaranteed’ as you can get.

Golden Sweetflag (Acorus gramineus ‘ogon’ & ‘minimus aureus’) - It is best known as a groundcover, but is useful in container planting. Pair this plant with purple pansies and azalea for winter or with clown flower (torenia) and autumn fern in summer. It thrives in a boggy site and may be used to fill in between stepping stones. When crushed, the scent deters deer in the area. Sweet flag can tolerate a range of light conditions from full sun to part shade.

Pink Muhly grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris) - Muhly grass shows its true beauty in early fall, when a pink cloud, its pink inflorescence or flowers, floats above the green foliage. One mature muhly grass can be divided into many plants in early spring. A native, this winner is reliable in full sun to part shade.

Variegated Japanese Solomon’s Seal (Polyganatum odoratum variegata) - This perennial thrives in the shade. The green leaves with cream stripe produce late spring fragrant bell-shaped flowers. It grows by rhizomes and is easily divided.This is great for a woodland garden with part to full shade.

Compact Gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) - This evergreen shrub is perfect for urban landscapes at the front of shrub borders. Gardenia jasminodes ‘Radicans’ matures at 2 to 3 feet tall by 3 feet wide.

Tolerant of a wide range of conditions this gardenia can take anything from full sun to part shade and will still offer aromatic white blossoms.

A more complete description, including photos, of the 2013 Georgia Gold Medal Plant winners is available at

This website lists all Georgia Gold Medal Winners back to 1994.

In addition to conducting research for the annual Gold Medal Plant Winners, this group hosts a biennial Gold Medal Plant symposium which includes speakers, workshops, and a plant sale open to the public.

Leaf Tip of the Week: To ensure a long-term success in your landscape, each season replace at least one struggling plant with a Gold Medal Winner.

Garden and lawn advice is provided by Rolando Orellana, your UGA/ Fulton County Cooperative Extension Agent. For your specific gardening questions, call the North Fulton Extension office at (404) 613-7670.

*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides