Take advantage of trial garden evaluations

Take advantage of trial garden evaluations

The LSU AgCenter Hammond Research Station hosts the state’s official trial gardens. LSU AgCenter file photo by Ashley Edwards

Take advantage of trial garden evaluations

Plant trial gardens such as the trial gardens at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia, feature new cultivars for evaluation and are often open to the public. Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter

Take advantage of trial garden evaluations

Some large growers have their own trial gardens open to the public, such as Young’s Plant Farm in Auburn, Alabama. Photo by Heather Kirk-Ballard/LSU AgCenter

I recently visited a few trial gardens across the South to see what’s new in the ornamental plant world. I saw some wonderful plants and got excited about some of the up-and-coming cultivars being tested for use in the landscape.

Trial gardens provide us important information about growth habits of new plants varieties and how they perform in different USDA hardiness zones. They feature new and improved cultivars, usually achieved through plant breeding. In some cases, entirely new plants are evaluated. The gardens provide useful data for plant breeders, growers and consumers alike.

There are many types of trial gardens. There are those run by plant breeders, large companies, public gardens and, of course, land-grant universities such as the LSU AgCenter. Testing organizations such as All-America Selections coordinate trial gardens in more than 40 locations across the United States and Canada. No doubt, trial gardens can be found in just about every country.

 

 

 

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