At Green Bay Botanical Garden we not only evaluate all of our new plants throughout the Garden, but we also evaluate some specific trial plants all season long. As the Garden grows, we have become more involved with the horticultural science side of gardening. The trialing we perform allows our visitors and members to see new plants before they are released – to get them on their purchase list – and to ask local garden centers to supply them. Our trialing allows local garden centers and growers to see the plants perform in a garden setting which may help determine if they are worthy of adding to their garden center’s inventory.
During the summer of 2016, the Garden was involved in four major trialing efforts:
Fifty-one different annuals and perennials were part of the trial. The plants were evaluated by our horticulture staff and interns monthly throughout the growing season with results sent back to Ball Horticultural Company. Some of the show stoppers were Tidal Wave Red Velour petunia, Taishan Orange Improved marigold, Glamour euphorbia, Campfire coleus, Flame Thrower Chili Pepper coleus, and Flame Thrower Spiced Curry coleus. Look for these plants on sale in your local garden center.
The Garden is one of about 45 trial gardens in the United States that compares a breeder’s entry plant against the most commonly grown industry standards of that particular plant. The entry plants are compared and rated against the comparison plants throughout the trial, and then a score sheet is sent into AAS at the end of the evaluation period. This year 12 entries were evaluated against 19 comparisons for a total of 31 different plants. Our results are tabulated along with those from the other trial gardens to determine if the entry plant is worthy of an AAS designation. Look for AAS plants and seeds when shopping this spring to get proven performers into your garden.
This trial includes 15 shrub roses in 4 replicated blocks, equaling 60 plants total, which were planted and watered for a few weeks to establish them. After that, the shrub roses received no supplemental water, no fertilizer, no pesticide treatment, and no winter protection. The idea is to find beautiful flowering roses that require very minimal care and are not susceptible to insects and disease. The roses are evaluated monthly by our horticulture team. The Garden is one of 11 national sites in the A.R.T.S.® program. Roses are trialed for two years, after which a new group is planted. Look for the trial site next summer, and look for A.R.TS. ® winning roses in garden centers in the upcoming years.
This trial includes 20 hybrid tea and floribunda roses in 4 replicated blocks, equaling 80 plants total. These roses are treated similarly to the A.R.T.S.® roses except they will get mulched for winter protection. This year the plants were simply established. Data collection will begin next year and continue for three years total. The trial’s goal is to provide homeowners and retailers with trouble-free hybrid tea and floribunda roses that look great with minimal care. The Garden is the only northern test site for this trial in the country.